How to Avoid Back Pain when Shoveling Snow
For those of us in Fort Wayne, shoveling snow will be an inevitable task at least a few times this winter. The thing is, snow is pretty heavy and most of us don't spend any time training for this particular "sport". Many times, the additional strain brought on by shoveling snow can cause severe back pain and other injuries.
If you suffer with back pain, hire a friend or neighbor to clear your drive or purchase a snow blower to avoid further back problems. With a snow blower, you can clear your driveway quickly and effortlessly. You don't have to break a sweat, much less your back. Gayle Shuster of Crescent Avenue Gardens, a Fort Wayne outdoor power equipment store, tell us: "Once we sell a customer a snow blower, we inevitably hear that they wish they had purchased one years ago. However, make sure you get a snow blower that fits the task at hand. There are many different models of snow blowers to fit jobs from large to small. Picking the right snow blower will make the job easier and avoid overexertion and to help keep your back healthy and pain free!"
If you must shovel the snow yourself, follow these tips to make sure you are shoveling snow safely.
- Lightweight, but sturdy, is the best tool for the job. A small plastic blade is easier on your back than a large metal one. If the snow is sticky, some people suggest coating the blade with cooking oil spray before you begin.
- The shovel handle length is important. Buy one with an adjustable handle or try it out in the store first -- stand the shovel on end, the top of the handle should come up to your chest. A handle that is too short puts additional strain on your back.
Much like any other strenuous activity, it is a good idea to warm up before you begin. March in place for a few minutes to get your heart pumping and do some shoulder and back stretches.
- Start out small. Begin by shoveling light, small amounts and gradually work up to heavier shovelfuls.
- Push the snow rather than lift it whenever possible.
- If you must lift the shovel, use ergonomic techniques: square your shoulders and hips toward the amount you will be lifting, bend at the hips, not the lower back, and use your leg muscles to lift up.
- When gripping the shovel, keep your hands about 12 inches apart to provide greater stability and minimize the chances of injuring your lower back.
- Avoid further back injury from slips or falls. Wear boots with good tread and spread sand, ice salt, or kitty litter to increase traction.
- Take frequent breaks -- a minute or two every 10-15 minutes OR anytime you feel overly tired; stretch your arms, shoulders, and back to keep them flexible.
- Dress in layers so you can remove clothes if you start to feel overheated.
- Shovel small amounts of snow over several periods in the day -- rather than tackling a large pile all at once.
- Stay hydrated; drink before you get started and continue to hydrate.
Back Pain Relief at Busch Chiropractic
Fort Wayne Chiropractor, Dr. Richard Busch of Busch Chiropractic has been successfully treating the back and neck pain of many patients for years. If you suffer from back pain brought on by shoveling snow, call Busch Chiropractic. Our back pain treatment options can provide the relief you've been looking for, so you can get out there and enjoy this winter!
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