Avoid Snow Shoveling Injuries

Nov 30, 2020
man shoveling snow

Shoveling snow can be a pain…literally. Shoveling snow can cause muscle aches and pains, and may even cause low back injuries.

Shoveling snow is a great form of exercise when done correctly. However it is important to remember it is an exercise, and you need to warm-up properly. Doing 10 minutes of light exercise, like walking and stretching before you go out, will prep your muscles for shoveling. Focus on your low back and hamstrings.

Proper body mechanics are key to avoiding injury. Follow these helpful tips:

  • Always face towards the object you intend to lift - have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it.
  • Bend your knees and hips so you’re not relying on your lower back to do all the work. Lift with your leg muscles and keep your back straight.
  • Avoid twisting the back to move the snow to its new location - always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
  • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing.

Shoveling small amounts of snow frequently is less strenuous than shoveling a large pile at once. In deep snow, remove a few inches off the top at a time, rather than attempting to shovel the full depth at once. It is also important to pace yourself. Take a break every 10-15 minutes and use this opportunity to stretch your arms, shoulders, and back to keep them warm and flexible.

We Can Help

Do you have back pain or recovering from a back injury? We can help. Our therapists can customize a spine treatment program that alleviates your pain, increases your mobility and restores your quality of life. To make an appointment, visit www.RIMrehab.org/appointments.