Shoveling snow can be a pain in more ways than one! Throughout the winter, patients coming into our clinic with injuries from shoveling are a common occurrence. Though easily treatable for the most part, injuries from this kind of activity can be easily avoided.
To keep your body injury free this winter when the snow falls and covers your driveway, our team put together seven tips to help you move the snow safely:
- Warm up: When your body is cold it becomes prone to injuries. This makes it very important to ensure the blood is flowing and your body is warm before you start shoveling! Before you head outside you can get your body warm by doing leg swings, bent torso twists, jumping jacks, or jumping jacks.
- Don’t let the snow pile up: If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once. It’s far less strenuous in the long run.
- Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.
- Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.
- Bend your knees: As with any heavy object, you need to use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.
- Take a break: If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a doctor immediately.
- Treat an injury immediately: It’s normal to feel a bit sore and stiff after shoveling, but if the pain is immediately or eventually disabling it’s important that you make an appointment with your Chiropractor to have the appropriate treatment applied to the injury. This will avoid future injuries and keep your body healthy!