Is Shoveling Snow Hurting Your Back?
Is your back ready for another winter storm?
Snow is wonderful for sleighing, skiing and building snowmen, but shoveling snow is everyone’s least favorite part of winter. Wet, heavy snow accompanied with icy surfaces is a tough combination. Shoveling uses muscles most people don’t use everyday, and your muscles, back muscles included, will feel it the next day.
Here are some ways to stay safe and smart while protecting yourself.
- Try to stretch and move a bit before you go outside. Get your blood moving, and warm up your muscles which have been nice and cozy in front of your fire for the last few hours.
- Make sure to dress warmly. Cold muscles will tense up faster, making you more prone to an accident.
- Make sure you are wearing proper footwear with a tread to ground you.
- If possible start the winter off by buying an ergonomically correct shovel with a bent angle. It will help take a lot of the stress of your back.
- Grip the shovel with one hand on the handle, and the other hand as close to the blade as possible.
- Bend at your hips, not your lower back, and keep your chest pushed out.
- Use your knees and leg muscles to lift, not your back.
- Do not twist your body when throwing snow to the side. Instead pivot your whole body.
- Try to keep your load light and don’t take on too much with the shovel. Take a break every 15 minutes or whenever your body is feeling taxed.
** Please keep in mind shoveling snow is very strenuous on your back and heart. If you are not in good health and exercise somewhat regularly, please consider paying the neighborhood kid to shovel for you.
It is very common to feel sore after shoveling snow and some mild back pain is not uncommon. If after a few days you are not feeling relief reach out to Dr. Carl P. Giordano or Dr. Richard S. Nachwalter at Atlantic Spine Specialists to see there if there is a bigger issue happening. Click here or call us at (973) 971-3500.