Snow shoveling can lead to a number of health risks for many people, from back injuries to heart attacks. Bending and twisting while carrying mounds of wet, heavy snow on the end of your shovel can easily cause lumber disc herniation, and muscle strains and sprains in the neck, back, shoulders, and legs.
Here are some helpful tips for safe shoveling:
Warm up – warm up your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements or stretches.
Push Rather Than Lift – pushing snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs when possible.
Lighten up – Do not try to lift too much snow at one time. Use a lighter ergonomically-designed shovel.
Take Breaks, Stay Hydrated, and Layer UP – Take frequent breaks, drink water to stay hydrated, and dress in layers so that you can take off or add clothing as needed to heat up or cool down.
Keep Up With Snowfall/Shovel Multiple Times: Try to start shoveling the snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. That way you avoid having to move larger amounts of snow at once. Also, the longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become and thus becomes heavier and harder to move.
If you are suffering from pain related to snow shoveling, make an appointment to see Dr. Jeffrey Klein, Klein Chiropractic Center, West Chester, PA, who can help ease your pain.