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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maya Gonzales

Snow Shoveling Safety: Tips to Avoid Lower Back Injury

As the winter season is upon us, many of us eagerly anticipate the beauty of snow-covered landscapes. However, with the snow comes the inevitable task of shoveling, a chore that can lead to lower back injuries if not done with proper care. Here are some tips and tricks on avoiding lower back injury while shoveling snow.

Avoid Lower Back Injury
Snow Shoveling Safety

  1. Warm-Up Exercises:

Warming up before tackling the snow-covered driveway, deck, or sidewalk is extremely important. Performing gentle dynamic stretching exercises helps prepare your muscles for the physical activity ahead, reducing the risk of strain on the lower back.

  1. Choose the Right Shovel:

Selecting the appropriate shovel can make a significant difference in preventing lower back injuries. We recommend using a lightweight, ergonomic shovel with a curved handle to minimize the need for excessive bending and lifting.

  1. Proper Lifting Technique:

Lifting snow improperly is a common cause of lower back injuries. We advise bending at the knees and lifting with the legs rather than the back. Keep the shovel close to your body and avoid twisting while lifting to reduce the strain on your lower back.

  1. Take Breaks:

Snow shoveling can be a strenuous activity, and it's crucial to listen to your body. Take regular breaks to rest and rehydrate. This not only prevents fatigue but also reduces the risk of overexertion and lower back strain.

  1. Push, Don't Lift:

Whenever possible, push the snow rather than lifting it. Pushing is a less strenuous activity for your back, and it allows you to use the strength of your leg muscles. If lifting is unavoidable, keep the amount of snow on the shovel to a minimum to reduce the load on your lower back.

  1. Stay Hydrated:

Maintaining proper hydration is essential, even in cold weather. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue, increasing the likelihood of lower back injuries. Drink water regularly to stay hydrated while shoveling.

  1. Dress Appropriately:

Wearing appropriate clothing is often overlooked when shoveling snow. Layering clothing to stay warm and using slip-resistant footwear to prevent slips and falls, which can contribute to lower back injuries.

By following this expert advice on snow shoveling safety, you can significantly reduce the risk of lower back injuries during the winter season. Remember to prioritize your health, take breaks when needed, and use proper techniques to make snow removal a safer and more enjoyable activity. Stay warm and injury-free this winter! 

In the unfortunate event that you experience any discomfort or injury while shoveling snow, the dedicated practitioners at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine are here to help. Our team is committed to getting you back to feeling great quickly and providing you with the tools and guidance needed to prevent injuries in the future. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for personalized care and support on your journey to a healthy and pain-free lifestyle. Your well-being is our priority at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine.

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