Snow shoveling is a repetative activity that can cause muscle strain to lower back and shoulders. Back injuries due to snow shoveling are more likely to happen to people who may not know that they are out of condition. Following these tips can help you avoid injuries.
*Lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls. Be sure to bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back.
*Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to life the load. Using a shovel thats too long makes the weight at the end heavier. Step in the direction in which ou are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help prevent "next-day back fatigue."
*Avoid excessive twisiting because the spine cannot tolerate twisting as well as it can tolerate other movements. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible, so that you are lifiting with your legs.
*Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.
* Backword bending exercises while standing will help reverse the excessive forward bending of shoveling: Stand straight and tall, place your hands towards the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.
This article is brought to you by APTA and Move Forward PT