- Shovel often. Shoveling frequently will reduce the amount of snow needing to be moved. Less snow means less weight, which means less stress on your back.
- Attempt to push the snow rather than lifting it.
- If you have to lift the snow, lift with your legs, NOT your back. Do this by bending at the hips and squatting rather than rounding your back to bend over.
- While lifting a shovel full (if you must) place one hand as close to the blade as possible to reduce the lever arm, making the snow easier to move.
- Keep the load of snow light. Do not attempt to lift something that may be too heavy for you.
- Avoid twisting your back to move the snow. Instead, rotate your entire body to face the direction you intend to place the snow.
- Choose the right shovel. A shovel that is too short, or too long, will make shoveling snow more difficult. Also, some studies show using a shovel with a curved handle may reduce the amount of bending needed (Huang & Paquet, 2002).
By Anna Clark, PT, DPT, CIMT
As winter descends upon us, the all too familiar “snowmageddon” lurks just around the corner. As we prepare for the task of shoveling away the heaps of snow, it is important to note that shoveling snow is one of the more common ways to injure your back during the winter. Here are some tips to reduce the chance of injury this winter:
Utilizing these tips for correct mechanics of lifting snow may reduce the possibility of suffering an injury, but if at any time you begin to have pain, stop shoveling. Hiring someone or calling in a favor from a neighbor to help you finish the job is a much better alternative to a back injury!
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2011). Prevent Snow Shoveling and Snowblowing Injuries. Retrieved from AAOS: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00060
Huang, C.-t., & Paquet, V. (2002). Kinematic evaluation of two snow-shovel designs. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 319-330.
By Anna Clark, PT, DPT, CIMT As winter descends upon us, the all too familiar “snowmageddon” lurks just around the corner. As we prepare for the task of shoveling away the heaps of snow, it is important to note that shoveling snow is one of the more common ways to injure your back during the winter. Here are some tips to reduce the chance of injury this winter: Shovel often. Shoveling frequently will reduce the amount of snow needing to be moved. Less snow means less weight, which means less stress on your back. Attempt to push...read more
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