How To Rake Leaves Without Back Pain!

Hey everyone! In this article, we are going to be talking about 3 tips for healthy raking! Have you ever went outside for your fall cleanup and you raked and then you’re back was killing you for days after that?

Or are you someone who has back pain and you’re worried that if I go outside and do that fall cleanup, that my back is going to be killing me?

For more of my visual and auditory learning folks check out this video that shows what I am talking about!



3 Tips For Healthy Raking:


1. Take care of your hands first!


This tip doesn’t actually relate to the back, but it’s about the hands.  Gloves are very important! Make sure you’re wearing gloves to prevent blisters.


The other thing.. Nice little handy thing I do in my rake is I made it a little ergonomic so I could get a better grip.  Initially, it was very skinny. So actually put some duct tape around it helped with my grip to help with the hands so I don’t get any kind of hand pain, a tendinitis in my wrists and hands.


2. Don’t bend from your spine!



Most of you will bend forward when you are raking.  This crouched forward position puts a lot of stress and pressure to the discs in your lower back especially if you get back pain with sitting for long periods of time at work.


One way to decrease that stress to your back is to actually have your back straight and pivot using your hips.  By driving from your hips you are actually using your glutes.  So you’re turning your fall clean up into an exercise so you are actually getting strengthening benefits of a workout all at the same time of knocking off one of the honey dew list items 🙂


Pivoting from your hips is going to help decrease stress to your spine by using your bigger hip muscles.


3.  Switch directions!



Most people will only rake in one direction because that is what we are used to and it is comfortable for us.  The downside of this is you are doing repetitive motion over and over again. That’s how most injuries occur is by doing something too much over and over again.  One way to combat this is for as many times as you go one direction, you need to pivot your feet and switch sides and start raking in the other direction.

This is just going to normalize some of the balance to the muscles in your body and will help decrease the chance that you’re going to be having back pain for days to come after your fall cleanup.




Want to know what you should do before you go outside AND after you are done raking?  You want to stretch your spine into the opposite direction.  Check out this one stretch that has been helpful for many of the clients I have helped over the years who struggle with back pain when they sit, bend, and lift things up from the floor.  I hope it helps you!



If any of these tips were helpful for you, I appreciate you copy and share the link in your browser and share it with a friend!

If you know they have back pain or if they’re going be going out then this can help them!  Think of your husband who is going to be going outside this weekend so he can stay healthy (and this will also prevent him from complaining that his back hurts for the rest of the week)


Have you seen other medical providers in the past that just tell you to stop your activity?


We have a unique treatment approach that focuses on solving these problems with our clients. We combine manual hands-on techniques with guided supervised exercises to help you get stronger, pain-free and perform at your peak level to get you back on in the gym or on the road doing what you love. Our goal is to help keep you active, while recovering from injury by guiding you in ways to modify your training, rather than eliminating training!



The SPARK Physical Therapy Commitment



No long waits or multiple trips to providers’ offices every week. We see you either onsite at a partnering gym or in the comfort of your home when it is convenient with your schedule.

One on one for a full hour with your doctor of physical therapy, every visit. We provide you with a customized plan specifically designed for you, based off your unique injury and goals.

Full transparency in what you pay. You will never get a bill from us a couple of months after your visit.

Access and availability to you! Have a question about your pain or exercise program? Get an answer from your therapist directly.



If you’re in the greater Hamden, CT area and are an active adult that has been dealing with back pain we can help. We’d love to chat for a few minutes and see if you are a good fit for what we do. Fill in this CONTACT REQUEST LINK  and we’ll set up a free-minute phone consultation with a doctor of physical therapy


I have a great day getting outside being active getting that fall cleanup in and a little exercise!

Thank you for taking the time to read and watch the video,


– Duane Scotti, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS

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“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Duane Scotti and the Spark Healthy Runner program. When I started working with Duane, I had been dealing with chronic shin splints/posterior tibialis tendinitis for almost a year.

I had worked with multiple other coaches and physical therapists with little success and was at the point of almost giving up on my love for running. Duane is so kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable as both a physical therapist and running coach. Our first virtual meeting lasted two hours because he was so meticulous in his assessment. His strength and running program is progressive and created so that you can continue to build strength and mileage as you heal. His strength program is unique, effective, and fun.

Additionally, his warm-up routine is awesome and includes drills that over time have made me a more efficient runner. His training platform is easy to use, and he is always readily available to chat when problems or questions arise.

Over four months of working with Duane, I have built back to five days a week of running and am almost back up to my pre-injury weekly mileage and long run distance. Whenever I have flare ups or setbacks, Duane reassures me and makes necessary adjustments so that I can continue to progress in my running journey. I have had so much success with him so far that I have signed on for four more months so that he can help me to continue getting stronger as I train for the Dopey challenge in Disney World.

If you are struggling with a running injury and are feeling hopeless, you have to reach out to Duane Scotti. Of course, you will have to put in a lot of hard work, but with Duane by your side, you will be able to achieve your goals and more. Thank you Spark Healthy Runner for bringing the spark back to my running!”

Dipti Pandya

You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!  I have never considered myself a runner and I knew I needed to be smart about it because I am no spring chicken. Spark preached getting strong and healthy to be injury free and they practice what they preach.  I am soooo glad I made the investment in me!  I finished my half marathon last weekend and couldn’t be any happier!  The program fed me all the steps I needed to essentially learn how to run long distance, build strength, nutrition help, a forum of other runners and probably most important was the 1:1 coaching.  I had no idea how to tackle training for a 1/2 marathon and this program broke all of it down, had it individualized for me and we tweaked as we went to make sure I was staying healthy and strong.  I had so many questions the week prior to my race and Coach Cat was always there for me and answering all the questions and issues I had-and believe me there were a lot!  The biggest benefit I think I got was the strength. I am strong and fit. But most important was what I gained emotionally.  I built confidence and strength I didn’t know I had, even at my age.  Honestly could not have done this without Spark Healthy Runners!

Gina J.

My Healthy Runner journey started after I had battled bilateral achilles pain for a few months and was frustrated how it affected my running. As soon as I talked to Duane I knew I had made the right decision. His positivity, enthusiasm and genuine care are infectious. The training plan that was tailored to me included specific exercises to rehab my injury and I was so excited that I didn’t have to stop running. It took patience to only run slow for a few weeks but I trusted the process and it got me me to where I am now: running pain free. We made adjustments to the plan throughout whenever needed having someone in your corner that is always there with guidance and support throughout the process was invaluable.

I just ran my second half marathon, both with Duane’s coaching, and PR’d by over 9 minutes! I got all choked up in the last mile when I realized that I felt strong and could still kick it up a notch.

I’m so thankful for the Healthy Runner program, community and the entire coaching team for all the support!

Katja L.

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