Back Pain After Raking Leaves & Doing Yard Work

Hello everyone.

Dr Brad Ivanchuk here.

Recently, one of my practice members asked me if it was normal to have back pain and stiffness after raking leaves.

The answer to this question should be “no”, but unfortunately this is often times not the case.

If you struggle with the same issue, I am going to explain to you today how and why this happens.

Raking involves a lot of reaching and leaning forwards which is not ideal posture for anybody.

If your core muscles and your lower back stabilizer muscles are weak, your spinal joints are going to take the brunt of the load.

And if you do not exercise your core muscles or lower back muscles specifically, it is inevitable that they will be weak.

Your spinal joints are highly sensitive and when they get irritated and inflamed because they have been unduly overloaded, you will be in for a whole heap of backache.

Here are two things you can do to help this …

Use a rake with a wider fan and a longer reach. A wider fan will help you move more leaves in one swoop and a longer reach will allow you to stand up straighter while raking which will decrease some of the load on your lower back.

And make sure to do your plank exercises regularly.

Planks are an excellent and very effective way to strengthen and tone your core muscles and lower back muscles both.

If you are unsure if you are planking properly, here is what you can do …Use your phone and get a video of yourself doing a plank. Forward the video to me on FB Messenger and I will look at it, critique it and give you some feedback. Remember that yard work should be enjoyable and a good source of exercise for you.

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