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Quick 6 tips on how to save your back while shoveling snow

One of the more common causes of back injuries during the winter months is snow removal, but if you follow these 6 tips, it could help you avoid muscle cramps, neck stiffness and back pain from shoveling:

  1. Pick the right snow shovel.
    • Use an ergonomic snow shovel. This can help you minimize painful bending.
  2. Warm up thoroughly
    • Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up, flexible muscles.
    • Do a quick 5-10 minute warm up to help get blood moving.
    •  Go for a brisk walk or another full-body activity.
  3. Pace Yourself
    • Shoveling small amounts of snow less frequently is less strenuous than shoveling large amounts.
    • If the snow is deep, remove the top few inches first, rather than attempting to shovel the full depth at once.
    • Take 10-15 minute breaks.
  4. Use ergonomic lifting techniques
    • Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting it
    • Always face towards the object you intend to lift (ie have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it)
    • Avoid twisting the back to move your object to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction
    • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing
  5. Keep your feet on the ground
    • If the ground is slippery, wear shoes with good tread to reduce the chance of a slip and fall injury.
  6. If possible, stop shoveling.
    • When used correctly, a snow blower can put less stress on your low back than shoveling.
    • Avoid stressing your back by using the power of your legs to push the snow blower while keeping your back straight and knees bent.

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