During the winter months we see a lot of snow and ice related injuries.People slip and fall on the ice or injure their backs from shoveling out their driveways. Slipping on ice is hard to prevent but not snow shoveling injuries. With a little guidance we all should be able to dig our cars out with minimal or no back discomfort afterwards. Here are a few helpful tips to help prevent those back injuries while shoveling snow:
- Use your legs. Just like picking up a heavy box, when loading your shovel you want to bend at the knees and then straighten your legs when you lift.
- Avoid twisting. Your lower back is not designed to twist. Turn your entire body towards the snow when loading your shovel and then turn your entire body towards your snow bank when tossing it away.
- Use your arms to throw the snow, not your waist. Once again, the lower back is not meant to twist and by doing so you can jam the joints in your back together or worse; injure a disc.
- Keep the head/scoop of the shovel close to you while lifting. The further the weight is away from your body; the more difficult it is to lift.
- Arch your back when squatting and lifting the snow. Picture a sway-backed horse. That is the ideal position for lifting and shoveling. This will help protect your lumbar discs from injury.
- Remember to dress warmly! If your muscles and joints are cold they are more likely to have brittle properties and become injured.
- Use a lightweight or plastic snow shovel. Don’t try accomplishing the task with a metal shovel. The extra weight is just more wear and tear on your body.
- Freshly fallen, powdery snow is lighter in weight than compacted snow. So avoid procrastinating when attacking the job.
If these tips don’t do the trick for you we would be happy to see if there is something further we can do to make your back and body feel better. For more info on how you can protect your back this winter season contact us at 540-381-0220 or stop in and see us. We are located across the intersection from Christiansburg High School in the old Maddy building.