Snow shoveling this time of year can really affect your back. If you follow a few simple tips, you can avoid hurting your back this winter. Each winter, people go outside to shovel the driveway and end up hurting their back and ending up at their chiropractor’s office. Follow these tips to avoid straining your back:
- Try to warm up your muscles before going outside. Gentle stretching of your legs-especially hamstrings and quadriceps. Stretch your arms, torso, calves-get the blood flowing first.
- Avoid bending and twisting actions. So in other words, try not to scoop and twist at the same time. Coupling flexion and rotation into one movement is very hard on the low back. Avoid this combined movement by squaring up to the shovel and plowing it instead of scooping and lifting the snow.
- Take breaks to rest your back. If you can’t finish the job within 30 minutes, then do the job in stages.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after shoveling the snow.
- Dress in layers. Stay warm, but as you heat up from the work, unzip the coat or loosen the scarf to allow your body temperature to stay constant and avoid overheating.
- Use common sense. If you physically can’t shovel the amount of snow that has fallen, then hire someone to do it for you. It’s not worth getting hurt or having a heart attack if your physical condition is such that it would put an undue strain on your system.
Follow these simple guidelines this winter to avoid straining your back. But if you do happen to hurt your back while shoveling snow then seek immediate attention from your local chiropractor. Proper treatment early on can help prevent problems later down the road.