Shoveling snow is one of the more common causes of back injuries during the winter months. This type of injury is preventable if you know the best ways to remove snow without putting strain on the back. The following tips can help you to avoid low back injuries and pain during the snowy season.
Warm Up Thoroughly
Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up muscles. Warm up for five to ten minutes before shoveling or any strenuous activity.
Get your blood moving with a brisk walk, marching in place, or another full-body activity.
Stretch your low back and hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) with some gentle stretching exercises.
Pick the Right Snow Shovel
An ergonomic snow shovel can help take some of the effort out of snow removal
Using a small, lightweight, plastic shovel helps reduce the amount of weight that you are moving.
Using a shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending, requiring you to bend your knees only slightly and arch your back very slightly while keeping the shovel blade on the ground.
Use Ergonomic Lifting Technique
Always face towards the object you intend to lift – have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it.
Bend at the hips, not the low back, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight.
Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy for you.
Avoid twisting the back to move the snow to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing.
Shovel small amounts of snow frequently is less strenuous than shoveling a large pile all at once
If the snow is deep, remove a few inches off the top at a time, rather than attempting to s shovel the full depth at once.
When shoveling, take a break for a minute or two every 10 minutes or if you feel overworked at any point. Stretch your arms, shoulders, and back to keep them warm and flexible