Snow shoveling is an inevitable part of living in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it's extremely hard on the low back. Anytime you are lifting and twisting at the same time, you are leaving the low back vulnerable to injury. We treat a lot of people with shoveling relating injuries this time of year. Here are a few easy tips to help prevent an injury from occuring.
The main idea is to prevent your back from twisiting and rounding forward. You should only push straight ahead of you and stand up almost straight. When you get to the end, lift the snow straight ahead of you, over the pile using your legs. It may not be the fastest way to shovel, but it's the least damaging to the low back.
Lighten Your Load
Instead of lifting big heavy shovelfuls of snow, try smaller loads with more frequent passes. Remember to push rather than lift.
We recommend using one of those ergonomic angled shoves that let's you stand straighter when pushing. You can get these at most hardware and retail stores. The trade off is that since you are already more upright you won't be able to lift very much.
Stretching Before and After
Do a little stretching before and after shoveling. You should do all over stretching but at the very least focus on stretching the low back, hamstrings and quadriceps.
The best tip is instead of shoveling use a snow blower, or better yet get someone else to do the shoveling. It might cost some money, but it will save your back. And no, I won't come over and shovel.
It may not help with your back, but it should help make the entire process a little more enjoyable.
Hope these tips will help you out this winter. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give me a call/email.
Your friend in health,
Dr. Steven T. Cass
CASS CHIROPRACTIC CENTER