Safe Snow Shoveling - Avoid a Back Attack

posted by Jordan Reed on Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain to the lower back and shoulders. Back injuries due to snow shoveling are more likely to happen to people who may not know that they are out of condition. Following these tips can help you avoid injuries:

  • Lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls. Be sure to take care to bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
  • Avoid excessive twisting through your back. Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help prevent soreness and fatigue the next day.
  • Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically.

Backward bending exercises while standing will help reverse the excessive forward bending of shoveling: stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing back pain, call Spencer Hospital Rehabilitation Services at 712-264-6189 to schedule an evaluation with one of our physical therapists.

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About The Author

Jordan Reed

Jordan serves as the Director of Rehabilitation Services and Laboratory at Spencer Hospital. He graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Des Moines University and has been with Spencer Hospital since 2011.