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How to avoid aches and pains while shoveling snow

1. Don’t shovel snow if you have had a history of serious injury or back related problems or a history of cardiovascular problems. Shoveling can be strenuous and may cause a recurrence of prior conditions. If you are middle aged and out of physical condition, it is best to avoid shoveling.

2. Don‘t lift snow with your back. Bending and twisting of the spine are common causes of disc and ligament damage. Bend from your knees and seek to keep the spine as straight as possible.

3. Don’t shovel at too rapid a pace. Work more slowly to condition your body to the extremes of weather conditions, temperature and the task of shoveling.

4. Don’t lift and twist from the waist when disposing of snow to the side areas. Use your arms and body to deposit it in a smooth motion; avoid abrupt starts and stops.

5. Don’t shovel with your feet firmly planted and immobile. Use your legs and thighs in helping dispose of snow instead of twisting and throwing the snow from a fixed position.

6. Don’t lift large shovels full of snow that can exert strain or pressure on sensitive body parts. Shovel light to moderate amounts per load.

7. Don’t attempt to throw the snow over evenly distributed area, which can cause over-exertion. Pile it close to you first and spread it out later.

8. Don’t inhale excessive amounts of cold air, which can more easily happen if you shovel from a bent position. Too much cold air can chill the lung tissue.

9. Don’t shovel snow in extremely frigid weather. Wait until the temperature abates.

10. Don’t work yourself into a state of huffing and puffing. Stop immediately and rest. You may need immediate medical attention if you have any chest pain or have a hard time breathing.

We hope these tips help during the winter months here in the mid west. Be careful with the shoveling and again if you feel musculo-skeletal pain from the shoveling don’t wait for a small symptom to get worse before getting treated, we are here to help you you!

-Dr. Eric Lambert

Discover Soft Tissue and Spine

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