We all have to do it! Ughhh...
What is it you ask? Well it is something that we have to deal with every year at this time. Shoveling. Yes, some of us are lucky enough to have the young man down the block shovel it for us. Not everyone is that lucky. In this months newsletter we will cover a few basic tricks to help you not blow your back out moving the beautiful, but heavy snow.
1) Pick the Proper Snow Shovel
A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending, requiring you to bend your knees only slightly and arch your back very slightly while keeping the shovel blade on the ground.
A small, lightweight, plastic blade helps reduce the amount of weight that you are moving.
2) Warm Up Thoroughly
Get your blood moving with a brisk walk, marching in place, or another full-body activity.
Then, stretch your low back and hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) with some gentle stretching exercises.
Limber up your arms and shoulders with a body hug that you hold for 30 - 60 seconds.
3) Use Ergonomic Lifting Techniques
Always face towards the object you intend to lift - have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it.
Bend at the hips, not the low back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight.
Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy for you.
If you must lift a shovel full, grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and the other hand on the handle (handle and arm length will vary the technique).
Avoid twisting the back to move the snow to its new location - always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
Keep the heaviest part of the object close to your body at your center of gravity - do not extend your arms to throw the snow.
Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing.
4) Pace Yourself
If possible, removing snow over a period of days will lessen the strain on the backand arms.
In deep snow, remove a few inches off the top at a time, rather than attempting to shovel the full depth at once.
When shoveling, take a break for a minute or two every 10-15 minutes or if you feel overworked at any point. Use this opportunity to stretch your arms, shoulders, and back to keep them warm and flexible.
Shoveling small amounts of snow frequently is less strenuous than shoveling a large pile at once.
5) Keep Your Feet on the Ground
hoes or boots with good treads will help to minimize injuries from slipping.
Spreading sand, rock salt, or kitty litter on your sidewalk or driveway will increase traction and reduce the likelihood of slipping on the ice.
6) If Possible, Stop Shoveling - Use a Snow Blower Instead!
When used correctly, a snow blower can put less stress on your low back than shoveling. Avoid stressing your back by using the power of your legs to push the snow blower while keeping your back straight and knees bent.
Keeping these guidelines in mind during the winter season will lessen the chances of developing new back problems or worsening your low back pain while shoveling, and hopefully make your winter a healthier and more enjoyable experience.
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services. Please feel free to CALL our OFFICE at 509-922-4133 or visit us on the web at www.ProactiveLibertyLake.com!
Dr. Samuel L. Nelson
Proactive Health Chiropractic, Corp
23801 East Appleway Avenue, Suite 110
Liberty Lake, WA 99019
P: (509) 922-4133
F: (509) 928-9639
Hours: M, T, TH 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
W, F 9:00 am - 3:00 pm