During these winter months here in Bozeman, the most common reason people come to clinic seeking care is an injury due to shoveling snow. Removing snow from your sidewalks and driveways not only helps to prevent slipping and falling injuries, it is a courtesy to yourself, visitors and neighbors; and, in many places, it is required by law. Your doctors at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic would like to offer a few pointers to help reduce injuries and keep your winter happy and healthy.
If you use a shovel to clear snow from your paths here are some tips:
- Before shoveling warm up and stretch gently as you would for any athletic activity. Think of snow shoveling as a workout.
- Try to push the snow as opposed to lifting every shovel full.
The most common way people hurt the low back is by combining lifting while bending and twisting in the low back (snow shoveling).
If you must lift,
- lift small loads as opposed the the maximum that fits on the shovel.
- bend at the knees and lift with the legs
- Keep your core engaged thoughout the shoveling workout to stabilize the low back
- as you lift, keep the spine straight or even arched slightly back with the chest forward and head up
- widen your grip on the shovel, this helps keep the weight closer to your body and reduces strain on the low back
- try to walk lifted snow to its destination as opposed to the twist and toss motion
- switch sides or switch the hand that is in front on the shovel to reduce repetative use/movement injury
The child pictured above is doing a great job of demonstrating bending at the knees and hips and maintaining a health spinal position. If he were to lift it would benefit him to have his left hand closer to the shovel end but his posture is a wonderful example of spine safety.
If you would like to discuss ways to prevent back injuries, would like clarity on any of these suggestions, or need care after snow shoveling, give the doctors at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic a call 406-551-2177.