How to Prevent Back Pain From Household Chores

If you’re a homeowner, it may seem as if your list of yard work never ends. Mowing, weeding, raking leaves and gardening are only a few of the common yard chores that take up both time and energy. But did you know your back and spine could be in danger of injury due to the high demands these chores put on your body?

Here are some tips to help prevent back pain when you’re taking care of your yard:

General Lifting Tips to Prevent Back Pain

  • Squat or kneel when lifting light or heavy objects. Pull the object close to your body and then lift. The power should come from your legs, not your back.
  • Maintain proper posture with a straight back by tightening your stomach muscles without holding your breath.
  • Use smooth, not jerky, movements.
  • Push instead of pull when possible.

Leaf Raking Tips

  • Use power from your arms and legs to pull the rake, not from your low back.
  • Consider using a leaf vacuum or mowing your leaves instead of raking and sending them to the dump. Leaves are great free mulch for your winter garden and yard, or an excellent addition to your garden soil. Not only will you help save your back, but you’ll help the environment too.
  • Squat or kneel on a foam knee pad to bag leaves. This will help you maintain good posture by keeping your back straight instead of bending at the waist.
  • Don’t hold your breath when raking or lifting bags, inhale and exhale normally.
  • Change position so you’re not always raking using one side of your body.

Gardening Tips

  • Kneel with a straight back and tight stomach muscles, while continuing to breathe normally.
  • Move your body close to where you are weeding instead of reaching too far in front.
  • Keep your body lined up straight with your work area to avoid twisting and pulling.

 Physical therapy can help with a wide range of injuries, increasing your mobility and decreasing your pain. To learn more and see our office locations, visit

Originally published Aug. 1, 2016. Last updated August 20, 2018.

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