Whether we like it or not the snow is inevitable during this time of the year. The temperatures keep dropping and the reality of winter is upon us. Even with the beauty that it brings there many inherent dangers that come with snowfall. One of the more common injuries we see is low back pain caused by people shoveling snow. Snow can be very heavy especially when wet. It is important to be safe while shoveling so you don’t fall into the injury trap. Follow these three easy tips to help you avoid injury during this winter season:
Warm-up your muscles before going outside
Just like any sporting event, it is important to warm up your muscles and joints before competing. Shoveling snow is no different. Before you go outside, take 5-10 minutes to stretch and get your legs moving. Failing to warm up could make you more vulnerable to straining the muscles in your low back or even experiencing something worse (e.g. disc herniation).
This may be complete common sense, but the sooner you get out shoveling the snow the lighter the load will be. It is better to do ten short trips outside than it is to try and shovel a lot more snow in two or three trips. Stay on top of it and your back with thank you.
Push it, don’t lift it
As a child, I always thought it was fun to shovel the snow and toss it over my shoulder to see how strong I really was. Looking back it may not have been the smartest idea. If the shovel becomes heavy and you try to lift it up and over your shoulder, you are putting your low back in a vulnerable position. The better solution is to push the snow rather than lifting it.
If for some reason you are required to lift the snow, be sure you use your legs. Place one foot slightly in front of the other, bend your knees, bend forward at the waist—not your low back—and then lift with your legs This places you in a good, athletic position that will reduce the chances of experiencing a low back injury.
From all of us at Elite Chiropractic and Performance Center we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.
Located just outside of Salt Lake City and in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley, Elite Chiropractic & Performance Center is the premier chiropractic office in Utah. Doctors Monte Layton, Jeremy Wimmer, Chris Harbrecht, and Jordan Mousley specialize in providing care for many different conditions and injuries. Those in the community seek Elite’s care for low back pain, neck pain, as well as shoulder, knee, elbow, wrist, hip, ankle, and foot pain. Call today to schedule your first appointment. 801-432-7511.