Injuring yourself while shoveling snow is one of the easiest ways to end up in a chiropractor’s office. Many people don’t realize they should stretch and warm up their body before heading out into the cold to shovel, especially when the snow is of the heavy and wet variety.
Here are some ways you can prevent injuries while shoveling snow this winter:
- Pick the right shovel. Buy a shovel with a curved handle or that has an adjustable length. This can help diminish straining your back, as it requires you to bend your knees and arch your back while keeping the shovel on the ground.
- Warm up your muscles. Start by stretching and doing some light exercise to get your heart rate going. Focus on stretches that will loosen up your back, arms, and legs. Cold, tighter muscles are more prone to injury. Make sure to walk around and even do some jumping jacks to get your muscles warmed up.
- Use proper lifting techniques. Make sure to push the snow to one side instead of always lifting it. The more you push the snow, the less likely you are to hurt yourself. Always face your body toward the pile you want to lift. When you start to lift the snow, bend at the hips, not the lower back. Push your chest out, point forward and bend your knees while lifting your leg muscles. Always keep your back straight.
- Keep your piles of snow light. Don’t lift an object that is out of your realm of strength. If you have to lift a heavy pile, make sure you grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as possible. Always make sure to avoid twisting your back and make sure your body is going in the same direction. Keep the heaviest part of the snow close to your body. Do not extend your arms to toss the snow.
- Take breaks. Overdoing it and shoveling the snow all at once can cause some serious problems. If you feel tired or that your heart is racing, take a break. If you feel overworked or that you have hurt your back, be sure to take the time to stretch your arms, shoulders and back to stay flexible and warm.
- Be careful not to fall. It can be slippery out there, especially while shoveling snow. Be sure to wear proper boots or shoes to minimize the possibility of slipping on ice or snow. Spread salt, sand or even kitty litter on your driveway and walkway to increase traction to reduce the possibility of slipping.
If you do injure yourself, the doctors at 360 Chiropractic can help you get back on the right track. To schedule an appointment, call us at 320-257-0360. We can help you turn your health around!