Preventing Back Pain When Shoveling Snow

When living on Long Island, shoveling snow during the winter months is inevitable. This article will provide helpful tips on how to safely shovel snow, significantly reducing the risk of injuring your back.

General Tips for Shoveling Snow

  • Protect your back from injury by lifting correctly. Correct lifting includes lifting with your knees and keeping the load close to your body. It is also important to avoid twisting motions when moving; instead reposition your feet to a better position before dumping snow.
  • Drink plenty of water while engaging in this rigorous outdoor activity. Dehydration is a winter issue just like it is in the summer months.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
  • PUSH the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Take it slow! Shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically. Be sure to stretch out and warm up before taking on the task.
  • Use a shovel with a small blade and take small scoops, especially when shoveling wet snow. Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
  • Lift with your legs bent, NOT your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
  • Dress warmly. Remember that extremities, such as the nose, ears,hands and feet, need extra attention during winter’s cold. Wear a turtleneck sweater, cap, scarf, and gloves.
  • Whether shoveling or using a snow thrower, do so during the warmest part of the day.

Department of Public Health

young male adult shoveling snow
male shoveling snow outside the house

Treating Back Pain Caused by Shoveling Snow

No matter how many precautions you take, it is still possible to injure your back while shoveling snow. Fortunately, Merckling Family Chiropractic can help you alleviate your back pain, enabling you to safely enjoy the rest of the winter season. Additionally, we can go into further detail on the aforementioned preventative measures, ensuring you are taking every possible action to mitigate your risk of injury. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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