Snow Shoveling Safety 

Many back and neck injuries occur in the winter as a result of shoveling snow.  Experts in Colorado agree that with just a few simple suggestions, you can protect your back and neck from potentially painful injuries.

 

Watch Your Back!

Since you’ve probably been less active during the winter, it’s wise to take it easy and start slow.  Follow safe lifting and bending when you shovel snow to protect against back and neck injuries.  Observe the following recommendations:

  • Don’t overexert yourself while shoveling your driveway and/or sidewalk.
  • Be sure to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated by drinking water.
  • Dress in layers.  It’ll keep perspiration off your skin surface so you don’t get chilled and   sick.
  • Bend with the knees and don’t lift with your back.
  • Grasp the shovel with both hands so that you work with your elbows slightly bent and lift with your legs slowly and carefully. Work with your arms and legs, not your back.
  • Always be sure of your footing on ice and in bumpy snow before you shovel or lift.
  • Try not to bend over too much while working.
  • Throw the snow forward with your arms, not from side to side.  Consider using an ergonomically designed snow shovel, investing in a snow blower, or hiring someone to shovel snow for you.

 

If you hurt your back…

Even after you’ve read all these suggestions and done your best to follow them, you may still suffer a back problem or injury. Your chiropractor can help you get your back on track!  Don’t delay seeing your chiropractor when problems arise. The sooner you go, the sooner your back and spine will be healthy and normal.  The U.S. Department of Health, through the Agency of Health Care Policy and Research, recommends manipulation for treatment of a low back injury.  In addition to manipulation and spinal adjustment, your chiropractor may recommend other types of treatment for strengthening your back and relieving tension and pain.  Additional treatment may include personalized stretching and strengthening exercise, moist heat, ice packs, electrotherapy, ultrasound or even traction.