Winter weather is here! Bring on the cold, the ice and the SNOW!
Removing snow can put you at risk for many different types of injuries ranging from minor sprains and strains to more significant back injuries. Prevention is crucial and it is necessary to take some precautions to practice safe shoveling techniques. Even fluffy snow can lead to lasting injury if incorrect techniques are used!
Step 1) Assess your health and physical capabilities BEFORE starting.
Shoveling can be very taxing to your body, especially if you have heart conditions or other health concerns. If you are unsure if it is safe for you to shove, it is always best to consult with your doctor first.
Ask a neighbor or family member for help if you cannot shovel yourself.
Use a snowblower when appropriate.
Step 2) Dress for the weather
Wearing warm layers that allow you to move and stretch in different directions and bend at the knees will help keep you mobile when shoveling.
Step 3) Light stretching before shoveling
Stretching will help warm up the muscles and your body before it takes on a more difficult tasks.
Step 4) Techniques to prevent injury
NO: Avoid excessive bending and twisting at the waist to prevent strain in your back muscles.
YES: bend your knees and lift with your legs while keeping your back in a neutral position.
YES: Take smaller loads and only lift what you can handle at a time. Heavy, wet snow may require smaller loads to prevent injury and reduce your risk of back pain.
YES: Use your abdominal muscles and leg muscles to lift and move the snow, NOT your back.
NO: avoid twisting your body when throwing the snow
YES: when shoveling or pushing snow, shift your weight form your back leg to your front leg to help you avoid bending at the waist and protect your back.
YES: break apart icy snow by inserting the shovel vertically and using the blade to break off smaller pieces that are easier to lift and move.
Step 5) Take breaks and rest and stretch when needed
Shoveling can be physically demanding and overexerting yourself can increase risks of injury. If you feel dizzy, short of breath or overly sweaty, it is important to stop and take a break.
If you continue to feel ill, or suspect a medical problem, seek medical attention immediately.
Step 6) Stretch
Light stretching at the end of your shoveling to help keep the muscles loose so you are less sore the next day.
If you experience muscle strains, sprains, or other injuries while shoveling, don't hesitate to reach out to Catalyst Chiropractic PLLC. We're here to help you feel better!
Stay safe and enjoy the winter wonderland!