By: Lynn Steenberg, PT, ATC
The arrival of snow does not typically wait for the official start of winter in late December. And it’s unpredictable when the wintry precipitation will wind down. This year is no exception, as this week’s arctic blast ushers in one significant snowfall after another. So how do we avoid injury when addressing all of that snow in our driveway? Here are some simple tips:
A. Dress in loose layers that can be removed to avoid overheating.
B. Choose a lightweight shovel with an ergonomic design that allows you to keep the load close to your body.
A. Try to stay ahead of the storm by shoveling smaller amounts more frequently.
B. Rest when you get tired or feel out of breath. Avoid holding your breath when lifting snow, as this increases the pressure on internal organs, especially your heart.
C. Stay hydrated.
A. Lift with your legs from a squat to an upright position.
B. Avoid bending over, and instead maintain a small inward curve in the low back at all times by tightening the core muscles that surround your spine.
C. Shift your weight using your legs.
D. Do not twist your spine.
A. Push snow whenever possible.
B. Move small amounts the shortest distance you can.
C. Make sure to hold the shovel as close to your body as possible.
5. Pace yourself and ask for help!
6. Pray for spring to come soon!
Here’s a short video demonstrating proper technique from our friends at the American Physical Therapy Association: