As the temperature begins to drop, we can finally admit to ourselves that winter is upon us. That means that the most dreaded winter activity is coming up, shoveling snow. Shoveling snow can cause some major back pain and injuries, so here are some helpful tips to protect you and to help minimize pain and injury:

  • Pick the right shovel. This one is simple enough, make sure the shovel you choose is the appropriate length and lift for you. Also make sure that it’s lightweight so that when you do have to bend to shovel, you aren’t lifting more weight than necessary.
  • Stretch. Like most exercises, you should stretch before shoveling. Shoveling can cause a strain on your back, and especially if you live a more sedentary lifestyle, the sudden lifting can cause back injuries.
  • Pace yourself. Much like exercising, when shoveling snow you should pace yourself. Of course we all want the tedious chore to be done as fast as possible, but it’s not worth the risk of an injury.
  • Wear shoes with traction. This one is a no brainer, because you want to make sure that as you shovel, you do not slip. You want to ensure proper balance while shoveling to prevent more injuries.
  • Shovel fresh snow. Freshly fallen snow is a lot lighter than snow that has been sitting for awhile. This is because as time goes on, the snow gets more compact, so it becomes heavier and harder to lift.
  • Use proper technique. When shoveling snow, you really shouldn’t lift your shovel unless it is absolutely necessary. If you choose to lift your shovel, then you should apply proper lifting technique which is always to lift with your legs not your back.

We hope this was helpful to you and that you will remember these tips the next time it snows, so you can avoid injury.

Union and Raritan Anesthesia and Pain Management

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