How to avoid back pain when shoveling snow

Chiropractic Doctor

White, fluff, cold snow, it can be so beautiful to look at, yet it can also be very dangerous. Snow and ice can be difficult to tackle on during the winter months. Walkways and driveways covered in ice are dangerous and can lead to various injuries if you are not careful. Clearing these icy areas can also pose potential threats. Little things such as forgetting to put on gloves, wearing improper footwear, and even forgetting to maintain proper posture when shoveling snow can all lead to injuries. Shoveling snow and ice can cause back pain and back injuries if the proper precautions are not taken. So apart from dressing appropriately, what is the best way to avoid back pain when shoveling snow? Proper tools, and posture go along way when it comes to preventing back pain from shoveling snow.

How to avoid back pain when shoveling snow

It is also good practice to make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothing, footwear, and have the proper equipment when shoveling snow. A sturdy, lightweight shovel is a key tool to have to make snow-shoveling safer and easier. Another important preventive measure of snow-shoveling is proper posture. Here are some posture tips to practice when shoveling snow:

  • Make sure you are stable- It is important to have a stable stance when shoveling snow. Stand with your feet hip-width apart for better balance. Footwear should be non-slip, which will protect you from sliding on slippery grounds.
  • Keep the shovel close to your body- Holding the shovel close to your body will prevent you from straining or pulling a muscle. The further the shovel is away from your body, the harder your muscles have to work to maintain balance.
  • Shovel smaller amounts- If snow level is high, shovel in smaller amounts. Shoveling 1-2 inches of snow at a time is recommended.
  • Secure your grip- When gripping the shovel, hands should be spaced apart on the handle to increase leverage when lifting the snow.
  • Use your legs- When lifting the snow, always bend with your knees, not your back. Using your legs will protect your back from injuries.
  • Use your abs- Utilize your core muscles when shoveling. Engaging your core also helps to protect your back when you lift.
  • Avoid twisting- Do not twist your body when you lift. If you have to change directions, move your feet instead of turning your body.
  • Avoid throwing the snow- When removing the snow, do not throw the snow to its new location. Walk and place the snow on the side of the path. Always turn your feet towards the direction you will be dumping the snow.

Snow shoveling can be a very strenuous activity. Using proper clothing, tools, and technique, will make shoveling safer for you and prevent any back injuries.

If you have a history of back pain or have recently incurred a back injury, consider a consult with a chiropractic doctor trusts who can help create a healing treatment plan for you. Chiropractors are trained in providing treatment plans to help manage pain and heal injuries in a holistic manner.