Watch your back when you shovel snow, you don’t want to end up in bed as the cost a clean snow free driveway.
The first winter storm has moved across the northern states. It’s only a few inches of snow so you break out your show shovel. Snow shoveling can easily cause muscle strain to your lower back. Many early season snow storms dump snow that is laden with moisture so 2-4 inches of wet snow is heavier that a late season storm that dumps twice as much snow that contains less moisture. So govern your activity accordingly and use good technique to avoid lower back pain.
If you are out of condition you could be shoveling toward back trouble. Another cause of problems leading to lower back pain is to not use proper technique in handling the snow. Here are some ideas that should keep you from having difficulties with your back after shoveling snow:
To avoid back injuries, start slow. If you have a stationary bike ride a mile or two to get completely warmed up before you pick up the snow shovel. Another tip is to wait until later in the day as you are less likely to slip a disk in the afternoon or evening than early in the morning after the body has been at rest all night.
Start by lifting smaller loads of snow. Gradually build up and warm up your muscles before you load up the shovel. Bend with your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back.
When turning move both feet, don’t twist your body to move and throw the snow. Don’t bend your body forward and bend your back. To reduce fatigue step in the direction you’re throwing the snow.
Before you become fatigued take frequent breaks. One technique that is effective is to place you hands on the back of your hips and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.
Be sure you have a properly designed snow shovel. If the shovel is too short it will cause your back to bend more and you are more likely to experience back pain. A snow shovel that had too long a handle makes the weight of the snow feel heavier and will also cause fatigue and a possible backache.
The other factor is the size of the scoop of the shovel. To large and you may have a tendency to load it up with snow and the sheer repetitive weight could cause problems with your back.
If you get through the first snow storm with only tired and sore muscles, consider yourself fortunate. Perhaps it’s time to start regular workouts to minimize future back problems. Or you could hire a neighborhood teenager to shovel the snow off your driveway and sidewalks.