Living in New York’s Capital Region means a cold, snowy winter – which means shoveling. Although the snow is beautiful, shoveling it isn’t as pretty. If done improperly, it can be dangerous and lead to serious pain due to the twisting, bending, and tossing of snow. However, with the right technique and equipment, it can be a breeze!
Nobody wants to experience snow-related injuries. Here are some ways to prevent that from happening:
1. Do a Proper Warm-Up
Before shoveling, warm up your muscles. Give your body 30 to 45 minutes to ‘wake up’ before heading outside. Your neck, shoulders, and lower back are the muscles that experience the most damage from shoveling, so be sure to stretch and warm up those areas before starting.
2. Bundle Up
In the winter months, your muscles are forced to work harder to make up for the lack of warmth. Bundling up with a sweatshirt and heavy winter coat, along with gloves, scarves, and hats will prevent your body temperature from dropping and forcing your muscles to work harder.
3. Have the Right Equipment Handy
By investing in the proper equipment, you are basically investing in your body health! Snow blowers are great tools to limit physical strain during snow removal, but can be expensive. Ergonomic shovels are budget-friendly alternatives that can help you prevent injury. There are many options in the market, but experts say to stick with plastic shovels with steel or aluminum tips. Using the right shovel will help prevent back strain and other injuries.
When it comes to clearing off your car, use an ice scraper that is comfortable to hold, and the right size for your car. Are you interested in receiving a FREE ice scraper? Leave us a review on Google or Facebook, show one of our staff members, and receive an ergonomic friendly ice scraper! Please note, only previous and current patients or their legal guardians are eligible to participate.
4. Lift With Your Legs, Not Your Back
The most common mistake people make when shoveling is lifting with their back. Avoid painful back-related injuries by using your legs to lift and toss heavy snow. Make sure to go slow and if necessary, work in shifts to avoid over-exerting your body.
5. Handling an Injury
Don’t ignore your pain! If you notice anything abnormal during or after shoveling, stop immediately. If you are experiencing ongoing, persistent pain, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists or chiropractors so we can evaluate your situation and get you on the right, drug-free treatment plan!