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Posted on 12-12-2017

Being a Michigander you know that we are bound to get some snow during this season. So, I’d like to take a moment to talk about one of the main ways that our patients hurt themselves over the winter season: shoveling snow.

It seems like a silly subject, but let’s think about it. You probably haven’t shoveled snow for about 8 or 9 months (hopefully). It is a physically demanding job, and if you do it wrong, can cause a great amount of strain on your back. So, your body is not conditioned for it, and it is strenuous work – that is a recipe for an injury. So here are a few tips and tricks to help minimize that stress and avoid too many trips to our office.

  1. Get the right equipment – for many this may simply mean buying the right shovel for the job. For others, it might mean that you need to finally spring for that snow blower.
  2. Warm up your body before getting to the hard work – make sure to warm up your legs, back and arms. I would recommend doing some light stretching followed by body weight squats and lunges - make sure to keep your spine in a nice neutral position during these warm ups.
  3. Bend and lift with your legs and hips. Try not to round out your low back.
  4. Minimize the amount that you twist during shoveling.
  5. Switch off sides
  6. Cool down once you are done. Do not go inside and plop down on the couch. Make sure to stretch your body and loosen up any areas that feel tight after shoveling.

Treat shoveling like the workout that it is, and you will help minimize your risk for injury. Good luck with the snow this season! 

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