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Shoulder Pain and Raking

Hurt your shoulder while raking? Physiotherapy can help!

Shoulder pain and raking

As the leaves on the trees start to change, they also start to fall, and we need to clean up!
We might not remember how hard this physical activity is until we complain how sore the shoulders feel. Muscle strain or ligament sprain in the shoulders, when maintaining your yard, is very common. This happens due to cold muscles; therefore, it is essential we warm up before any physical activity. In this Blog, we will talk about how to prevent any injuries while raking.

Start with a warm up

As mentioned earlier, warming up plays a critical role to prevent injuries. It may be strange to warm up before a chore, but it will be beneficial for you and your muscles. A warm up should take about 3-5 minutes, ideally you want to do movements that will be similar to the activities that you are about to perform. The better the blood flow is the warmer the muscles will be! Here are a few exercises to help the blood pumping: Start with a brisk walk, high knees, and jumping jacks. Next, stretch the shoulders, chest and the upper back, and hold each stretch for approximately 30secs x 3 reps. Down below you will find a few of the many shoulder, chest and upper back stretches that you can use as a warm up. 

Chest Stretch

Shoulder rolls

Upper back/Rhomboids stretch

Shoulder stretch
Trunk rotation

Planning and Pacing

Prepare for the activity. Look ahead into the schedule and check the weather forecast. Note that Leaves are heavier after and during rainfall. When raking in dry weather (no rainfalls) the raking will be easier on the muscles as the leaves will be lighter. 

Take one section at a time, raking small amounts of leaves frequently is less exhausting than raking a large pile at once. If you have a larger yard don’t try to tackle it all in one day, if possible do it in sections over a period of days; this will lessen the repetitive strain on the shoulders. Don’t forget to take breaks, take a minute or two every 10-15 minutes or whenever you are feeling overworked. But don’t forget to keep the muscles warm.

Use proper ergonomics while raking

When possible, rake with the wind and rake downhill rather than up. Even though the leaves are light it is still helpful to have gravity on your side. Use bigger muscles to help when raking: Turn on your core; never turn or twist without activating your core, it is best to rake towards you while turning on those abdominal muscles. When raking, think about using your back muscles, specifically the upper back to help the smaller muscles of the shoulder for example,  bringing your shoulder blade towards the center of the spine when pulling towards you rather than using your wrist and elbow. Get a rake that isn’t too heavy to use, with a good handle, and the ability to catch as many leaves as possible.

How will physiotherapy help?

Ready to find relief? Seek physiotherapy! In your initial assessment the physiotherapist will be assessing your shoulders with a series of simple tests and create a customized care plan that will be suited to you and your goals. The program will consist of pain management using physical modalities, active therapy, and manual therapy.

Book an appointment or ask us any questions by calling 519-219-5428, or email at admin@cambridgephysio.ca

Gabby Salazar

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