Shoveling is a pain!
Shoveling is a pain!
Winter is upon us, which means the snow is going to start falling. Every year our clinic sees numerous patients with acute back pain from snow shoveling. While shoveling seems like a safe and easy task, the potential for back, hip and neck pain is high. Below are some tips to help reduce your injury risk while shoveling snow.
Before you even lace up your boots to tackle the snow drifts you should ask yourself “am I healthy enough to be shoveling?” Numerous health conditions such as cardiac dysfunction, arrhythmias, low blood pressure, cold-intolerance, asthma and a history of falls could put you at greater risk. If you have any concerns about your health you should consult your doctor prior to strenuous activity like shoveling.
1. Get a proper shovel - this should be lightweight, and be tall enough so you are not constantly bending over
2. Warm up – get your blood flowing before heading out by doing 3-5 minutes of light activity such as mini squats, arm circles, or even jumping jacks.
3. Proper footwear - warmth to protect your feet and also proper traction to help reduced falls
4. Lift often – take small amounts of snow to reduce the weight you are lifting
5. Limit twisting – lifting and twisting is the most common way to injury your back. Instead try to keep your hips square (not twisted) when lifting the snow. This helps to maintain the normal spinal alignment during shoveling
6. Use your legs – bending your knees will reduce the strain on your back
7. Take breaks – shovel for a few minutes and then rest for 1-2minutes. If the job is too large, break it into 20 minute segments and go inside to warm-up.
8. Drink water – even though the temperature are cold, your body still needs plenty of water. Drink when you get back inside even if you are not thirsty.
9. Start early – try to remove the snow from sidewalks early before people make tracks. These tracks compact the snow and will be more difficult to remove later.
Back pain is no joke! Contact our clinic if you have any back, neck or hip pain this winter season. We can help get you back out there before the next snowfall.