Gateway Gazette

Snow Shoveling Tips to Prevent Back Pain

That sharp pain you feel putting away the dishes on high shelf might be traced to lifting a shovel above your shoulder after this month’s snow.

Snow shoveling can gift you with pain that keeps on giving, and sometimes won’t go away for weeks, or even months. Repeatedly raising the arm when shoveling snow and especially by lifting that snow-filled shovel above the level of your shoulder can lead to several common back injuries.

Here are some easy tips from Ontario’s chiropractors to help ensure a pain-free winter:

• Don’t let the snow pile up: If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once. It’s far less strenuous in the long run.

• Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.

• Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.

• Bend your knees: As with any heavy object, you need to use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.

Take a break: If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a doctor immediately.

More information is available at http://www.chiropractic.on.ca.

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