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How To Avoid Shoveling Injuries

Tis The Season...

To hurt your back shoveling again this year, unless you follow these tips that is.

"Whats the best way to shovel snow without hurting my back?"

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me this question I would have a bag a nickels that would make Ebenezer Scrooge jealous.

The answer to the question above is actually that there really is no good way to shovel. Shoveling is very one sided activity that is both strenuous and imbalanced on the back.

Also, because we don't need to shovel very often, our bodies never really get used to the stress and strain of shoveling.

Because the snow won't shovel itself and you're going to have to do it, follow these tips to minimize the risk of injury.

#1. Think of shoveling as an athletic event and warm up first.

If you were going to go play basketball or workout strenuously would you warm up first? Of course you would and that's what you have to do when it comes to shoveling. You can't just throw on a jacket and start chucking snow around. That's a recipe for disaster.

Warm up like you would before a workout and get your muscles moving and loosened up for at least 5 minutes before hand.

#2. Bending and twisting makes your back angry!

The motion of twisting the spine while bent over puts more strain on the back than almost any other movement you can do. If you bend and twist with a load (ie. Snow on a shovel) you are increasing the strain DRAMATICALLY. Think push and lift. Not bend and twist.

#3. Cool down after you're done.

Remember, think of shoveling as a workout. Do some stretches of the hamstrings and low back when you're done so those muscles don't go into spasm and lock up 2 hours after you're done.

Follow these tips and avoid a mid winter back pain attack.

Dr. Hanson

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