Back Safety While Snow Shoveling
Living in Alberta means we are bound to get many snowfalls this winter. The task of shoveling snow is inevitable. It is very important to be conscious of your back when you are taking care of clearing your driveway and sidewalk.
Here are some tips to prevent injuries related to shoveling:
- Warm Up: stretch a bit before you throw all your winter gear on. Warming up your muscles will allow you to work more efficiently and reduce your risk of injury. A good place to start is by checking out this stretching program courtesy of the Alberta Chiropractic College and Association of Chiropractors
- Shovel Choices: always choose a shovel meant for snow and at the right height for you. The shovel should come to about your chest when it is placed on the ground. You will end up bending down less with a shovel at the proper height. This will lower the strain on your back and make the snow easier to lift. Lightweight, push-style shovels are recommended. If you have a metal shovel, using a non-stick spray will help with snow removal, as it will slide off easily.
- Practice Safe Shoveling: it is important to use proper technique while snow shoveling. Try not to lift and throw, but rather push the snow to one side if you can. Avoid twisting and turning if you do need to throw any snow aside. Make sure you squat and bend your knees. Also, tighten your core (ab muscles) and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. This will take stress off your back when you are lifting.
- Be Proactive: if there is a constant day of snowfall, do not wait until it all piles up. Those shovel loads will get too heavy and can further cause strain on your back. It is best to go out before the snow piles up greater than 2 inches deep.
Make sure you visit your chiropractor if you do become injured while shoveling snow or performing any sort of winter activity.
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