Snow. It’s unavoidable in Canada, particularly in the community that I live in! Which is fantastic because many people in my practice love to ski, snowboard, and snowshoe! However, dealing with snow around our homes and in our driveways means that I will see a very consistent pattern within people’s spines, and sometimes with acute injuries too. It’s no surprise when you consider that an average shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds! Take this load and repeat it over and over to clear a walkway or driveway, and you’ll quickly realize how much weight is lifted in one session of snow clearing — on average, several hundred pounds!
Shovelling snow can be a pain in more ways than one. Keep these tips in mind to prevent hurting yourself while dealing with the snow on your property:
• Don’t let the snow pile up: If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow each time. This approach is far less strenuous in the long run.
• Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel.
• Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.
• Bend your knees: As with any heavy object, you need to use your knees, and leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.
Don’t forget to take breaks! If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shovelling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shovelling, call me rather than ‘waiting for it to go away’. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a doctor immediately.
And of course…keep your regular chiropractic adjustment schedule to maximize your spine’s ability to move the way it was designed to!