Originally posted on December 21, 2011
We’ve all heard the stories of people laid up after shoveling snow. Maybe you’ve experienced an injury yourself. Shoveling is a strenuous and repetitive activity that can cause strains to the lower back and shoulders. Back injuries due to snow shoveling are more likely to happen to people who are out of condition.
Following these tips can help you avoid injuries:
• Lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls.
• Bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back.
• Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more, but using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
• Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent twisting and “next-day back fatigue.”
• Take frequent breaks. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.
• Backward bending exercises help balance the excessive forward bending of shoveling. Stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing back pain, consult a PT.