Tips for Snow Shoveling
Snow shoveling is one of the more common causes of back injuries during the winter months. However, this type of injury is preventable if you know the best ways to remove snow without straining the back. The following snow removal tips can help you to avoid low back injuries and pain during the snowy winter season.
Pick The Right Shovel
· An ergonomic snow shovel can help take some of the effort out of snow removal chores.
· A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending, requiring you to bend your knees only slightly and arch your back very slightly while keeping the shovel blade on the ground.
Warm Up Thoroughly
· Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up, flexible muscles. Do your back a favor by warming up for five to ten minutes before shoveling or any strenuous activity.
· Stretch your low back and hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) with some gentle stretching exercises.
Use Ergonomic Lifting Techniques
· Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting it.
· Bend at the hips, not the low back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight.
· Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy for you.
· If you must lift a shovel full, grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and the other hand on the handle (handle and arm length will vary the technique).
· Avoid twisting the back to move the snow to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
· Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing.
· Shoveling small amounts of snow frequently is less strenuous than shoveling a large pile at once.
- In deep snow, remove a few inches off the top at a time, rather than attempting to shovel the full depth at once.
· When shoveling, take frequent short breaks.
Keeping these guidelines in mind during the winter season will lessen the chances of developing new back problems or worsening your low back pain while shoveling, and hopefully make your winter a healthier and more enjoyable experience.
Fairport Chiropractic1157 Fairport Road
Fairport, NY 14450