Heavy snowfall is a normal part of winter life in Iowa. As a result, so are injuries from shoveling the snow off of walkways and driveways. Relatively inactive people and those with poor health should avoid the activity altogether, but even those in good shape are not immune to harm. If you want to avoid a back, neck, or other bodily injuries, use the tips from chiropractors below to maintain good form.
What Chiropractors Recommend Doing to Prevent Snow Shoveling Injuries
Shoveling snow is a cold and intense activity, and rushing into without stretching can result in strain or serious injury. Spend five to ten minutes warming up your muscles and loosening your back. Exercises, such as knee-to-chest stretches, lower back stretches, and hamstring rolls, that focus primarily on the back and hamstrings should be your focus.
2. Push Don’t Lift
One shovel of wet snow can weigh as much as 25 pounds. To avoid repeatedly lifting this much weight and potentially damaging your back, purchase or rent a snow pusher. However, if this is not possible, reduce strain by only moving small scoops of snow, and whenever you need to lift, squat with your legs apart and knees bent while keeping your back straight and stomach muscles tightened. Never bend at the waist, and never throw the snow over your shoulder.
3. Switch Sides
Most likely, you have a dominant side for shoveling snow. Sticking to this position the entire time you are working will create asymmetrical body balance, especially in your spine. This can result in joint strain, inflammation, and impaired movement in the days to follow. Avoid this by altering which side of your body you shovel with every five minutes.
If you do develop a snow shoveling injury, a trip to a trusted chiropractor can help return you to healthy form in no time. At Midwest Spine Center in Fort Dodge, IA, they provide a range of pain management services to help patients overcome injuries and other health conditions to lead to a higher quality of life. If you’ve been suffering from back, shoulder, or neck pain and are ready for relief, schedule an appointment with this office by calling (515) 576-1176. You can also visit their website for a full list of services.