pain management

‘Tis The Season To Shovel…Safely

Categories: Back Pain / News / Uncategorized

Winter is coming. Last year Long Island saw a pretty mild winter, but things may be different this season. Some heavy snows might fall, so it is important to avoid hurting yourself when you’re outside shoveling.

Wear The Right Clothing

Dressing inappropriately for winter weather can cause some serious damage to your body. To keep your body insulated, but ventilated, wear light and layered clothes. Your feet and hands are particularly sensitive to snow, so properly insulated boots and gloves are a must to protect you from frostbite.

The Shovel Makes A Big Difference

You should find a snow shovel that is designed to keep your muscles moving correctly. Find an ergonomically designed lightweight shovel with a plastic blade that is easy for you to lift. This will avoid putting stress on your back. Shovels that are a proper length and have an adjustable handle help minimize bending.

Warm Up For The Cold

If your muscles are cold and tight, they are more prone to injury. Get your blood flowing by doing a warm up exercise before you get digging. A brisk walk can get your muscles warm. Light stretches are also a great start because flexible muscles will shovel with more ease and comfort.

It’s All In The Lift

You have probably heard it before: lift with your legs, not with your back. This holds true when it comes to snow shoveling, but there’s more to it. Practice these tips when you get out there.

  • Keep Your Knees Bent: Your back can’t do all the work, so ben your knees and lift with your leg muscles. It’s important to keep your back straight so you can avoid stress on your spine muscles.
  • Space Out Your Grip: When holding the shovel, keep one hand close to the blade and the other hand on the handle. This will help in avoiding upper back and neck pain.
  • Don’t Do The Twist: As you move the load of snow in your shovel, keep your nose over your toes. Pivot your whole body in the direction of the new pile. Don’t reach out to throw the snow, but keep it close to your body and lay it down.
  • Lighten Your Load: You may feel like shoveling large loads of snow in order to get the job done quicker, but heavy loads hurt. Shovel loads that don’t feel too heavy so you can save your body some pain and stress.
shovel snow pain

Time Is Of The Essence

Take your time while shoveling so you can reduce stress on your back and arms. Take a break about every ten minutes and do some light stretching. This will keep your body warmed up and your muscles getting overexerted.

Shoveling snow can cause serious damage to your body, especially your lower back and neck. Be careful out there this winter. If you have any questions or concerns about how to reduce pain risk by snow shoveling, Central Orthopedic is always just a phone call away!