Living in Minnesota, shoveling snow is just another part of our winter routine. However, unlike many annoying chores, if you’re not careful shoveling can cause injuries.
Shoveling places a lot of stress on your heart and lower back. The reason it can be so hard on your heart is because snow is heavy, and if you’re moving lots of it, your heart is working overtime—think of it like a really grueling workout. Top that off with cold weather, which can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Your lower back is at risk for injury for a few reasons: heavy loads, improper lifting, and twisting or turning. There’s a right and a wrong way to shovel snow, just like there’s a right and a wrong way to lift weights.
This winter, protect your heart and lower back with these tips for safe snow shoveling.
- Talk to your doctor. If you have a history of heart disease, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before grabbing a shovel.
- Warm up. Think of shoveling like a workout or a run, you should warm up your body before jumping right in. Do some static stretching, like touching your toes and twisting side-to-side, before heading out.
- Push, don’t lift. Most people want to pick the snow up and toss it. However, whenever possible, you should push the snow with your shovel instead of lift it.
- Lift with your legs. Not your back! Bend at your knees and lift the snow using your legs and hips instead of your lower back. This will reduce the amount of strain on your back and potential for injury. This video does a good job of teaching proper lifting technique.
- Lighten your load. To give your body a break, use a smaller shovel or only fill your shovel partially full. This will lighten the load and make it easier on your low back and heart.
- Take breaks. If you’re feeling fatigued or sore, take a break or recruit some help from family or friends.
- Stay hydrated. You might not realize it, but you’re probably sweating quite a bit—shoveling snow is hard work! Take regular breaks to drink fresh water and rehydrate.
- Wear layers. Dress in multiple layers to stay warm and peel them off if you get too hot.
Protect yourself this winter by using these tips and techniques next time you head out to shovel. And if you do find yourself with a sore back, you know who to call.
May is National Golf Month and a fun time to be on the green.
Many golfers miss out because of common injuries to this sport. Heal golf injuries faster and safer with chiropractics to get you back in the game.
It is no secret that golf is hardest on your back. Even perfect form when you swing will wear on your spinal alignment over time. Fortunately, chiropractors are all about the back. Even if your back is not necessarily injured, chiropractors can alleviate back pain and soreness from a long day on the green. Spinal alignment will take pressure off the areas of your back you rely on for your golf swing. Frequent chiropractic adjustments can act as preventative care, and we aren’t strangers to helping patients with more serious back pain like nerve damage, disc ruptures, and more.
When golfers have a fast wind up, it can often result in shoulder pain. Sometimes this is just soreness, but it can also manifest in more serious issues, such as rotator cuff tendonitis, muscle tears, or A-C joint arthritis. As with any musculoskeletal problem, chiropractors can help. If you are feeling shoulder pain or even elbow pain, trust a chiropractor to help you feel better again!
Improper posture when swinging the club may cause knee pain – sometimes progressing to the point of surgery. Before you go under the knife, try chiropractic care. A chiropractor looks at the whole body functioning together and takes a full medical history in order to diagnose accurately. This is important when you understand that your knee joints are connected to your leg bones, pelvis, and influenced by your back and spine. Chiropractic adjustments can alleviate knee pain and bring back a full range of motion.
If you are suffering from a golf injury that is preventing you from getting on the green, May is the month to visit a chiropractor and fix that! You can enjoy golf as a sport again with the help of chiropractic care from 360 Chiropractic.
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!