Shoveling Snow Without Hurting Your Back

The winter season is officially upon us, and with it come the holidays, colder temperatures, and the high potential for snowstorms. And while the snow can provide for picturesque landscapes and harmless childhood debauchery, it also means that many of us will be shoveling our cars out of it. During the winter months, Merckling Family Chiropractic sees our fair share of patients who have injured their backs while shoveling snow. And while we are more than happy to help alleviate these back pains, we would much rather the injuries had not occurred in the first place. In this article we are going to discuss some of the most effective ways to prevent back pain caused by snow shoveling.

Get Ready

Before pulling on your snow pants, zipping up your jacket, and lacing your boots, it is important to prepare your body for the upcoming task of shoveling snow. Performing a set of stretches prior to heading outside can play a significant role in preventing back injuries. It is integral to stretch your lower back and hamstrings, and there are other areas you can focus on to further the effectiveness of this preventative measure. At Merckling Family Chiropractic, we can teach you a variety of proven stretching techniques to help ensure you do them correctly and without overexerting yourself.

After stretching, you can warm your muscles up and get your blood flowing by doing some light indoor exercise such as running in place or briskly walking around for a few minutes.

woman stretching on yoga mat

Using the Right Snow Shovel

A snow shovel is a snow shovel, right? While they do all help achieve the same end goal, snow shovels actually come in a variety of sizes and types in order to meet the unique needs of the individual using it. To prevent the need to overextend your torso and spine, it is important to use a snow shovel with a length that accommodates to your body. And if you are looking for a snow shovel that multiple members of your household can use, consider getting one with an adjustable handle. Also, when picking out a snow shovel, be sure to test each shovel’s weight and find one that is light enough for you to handle and sturdy enough not to break under pressure.

father and son shoveling snow in orange jackets

Proper Lifting Techniques

“Lift with your legs, not with your back” is an often-repeated phrase, and it happens to provide good advice. When shoveling up the snow, bend your knees while maintaining the proper posture provided by separating your feet evenly while keeping your back straight. This position is similar to a squat and will enable you to lift the snow up using your leg muscles, taking unnecessary strain off of your back. For areas such as stoops, you may be able to use the shovel to comfortable push the snow off, saving you from excessive lifting.

This entry was posted in Back Pain, Exercise, Pain Management. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.