How to Protect Your Back with Proper Snow Shoveling Technique

How to Protect Your Back with Proper Snow Shoveling Technique

February 1, 2015

As soon as the snow begins to fall, winter becomes a time of year that’s dreaded more and more by those with back problems and mobility issues. Aside from just having to worry about navigating icy driveways and hidden obstacles in the snow, snow shoveling in and of itself can cause major issues, especially for those with lower back pain. All it takes is one wrong movement or one over-packed shovel full of snow to compromise an already sensitive area of your body.

Understanding proper snow shoveling technique is hugely important for anyone who finds themselves with a shovel in their hand, regardless of if you’re in perfect health or you’ve suffered from chronic back pain in Brampton for years. Moving correctly and handling the strain that comes with shoveling appropriately will ensure that you’re not putting your body at risk for damage this winter.

Finding the right shovel

Proper snow shoveling technique starts with finding the right shovel. If at all possible, try to get yourself an ergonomic shovel over a traditional straight handled model—this will ultimately serve to lessen the strain of lifting shovelfuls of snow. More than this, however, it will minimize the amount of bending you have to do and keep you from putting pressure on your knees, core and lower back muscles.

Also ideal when looking for a shovel is finding one with a lightweight, yet sturdy scoop. Metal shovels are only going to add weight to your lifting motion and those with flat scoops are major balance disruptors that can cause you to wobble, increasing the potential for a tweak.

Proper form is key

Lifting snow, even with chronic back pain in Brampton, is all about ergonomics—the less pressure you put on your body and the fewer jerky motions incorporated in your movements, the better off you’re going to be. Be sure to take these tips into account with each lift of your shovel:

  • Always face the shovelful of snow that you intend to lift—don’t stand sidelong or at an angle.
  • Bend at the hips and push your chest out first, then bend at the knees and lift with your legs, all while keeping your back straight.
  • Keep your loads lighter, as to not overexert yourself or put strain on your back.
  • Don’t twist in order to throw snow to its final destination—carefully shunt the snow in the direction you’re lifting from or walk it to its final resting area.

The main thing to take away from this list is that excessive burdening on your muscles, combined with twisting or jerking is the number one cause of back injuries when it comes to shoveling. Don’t worry about being macho or showing the snow who’s boss: take your time, be careful and being fluid in your motions.

Of course, all of this is to say that if you own a snow blower or know someone who does, snow blowing is almost always the better choice, since it doesn’t leave you vulnerable to any of the situations that might cause back injuries!

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