Winter is upon us and snow is probably right around the corner. Inevitably, every winter we see patients in the office that have injured their back shoveling snow. Some may consider shoveling a form of exercise – 15 minutes counts as moderate physical activity – but there is significant risk of an injury. Taking a few precautions while you are shoveling can help prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. Below are tips from National Safety Council.
If you have a history of heart problems or are inactive, talk to your doctor – there is an increase in fatal heart attacks among shovelers
- Warm up and stretch before you get started
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated
- Shovel only fresh snow – freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed variety
- Push, don’t lift – it’s easier on your back and uses less energy than lifting
- Pick the right shovel for you and don’t pick up too much at once (use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one)
- Lift with your legs bent, not your back, and keep your back straight (by bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed – your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you)
- Dress in layers – if you work up a sweat, you’ll be able to remove some of those layers
- Wear a hat and gloves to protect your extremities, wrap on a scarf, and wear wool socks and waterproof boots to protect your body from cold temperatures
- If your body is telling you to stop, listen to it (stop if you feel pain or start seeing heart attack warning signs: chest pain; shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; and/ or shortness of breath – get medical help immediately)
If you experience lower back pain, neck pain and or shoulder pain due to shoveling snow, remember we are here to help. Contact Dr. Krift at (859)781-8700 for your chiropractic evaluation.
Stay warm and be safe this winter season!