Prevent Back Pain Injuries While Snow Shoveling
It is the most wonderful time of the year! However, as we all know in the Northeast, with that comes a lot of snow and with snow, we end up shoveling snow. If you are like most Americans, you; will choose to shovel your own driveway, walkway and sidewalk, leaving you sore and tired for days. Although this seems like a recipe for disaster, there are ways to prevent this back strain and lower the chance of a serious injury due to shoveling heavy snow, as well as safe and effective treatment options that will have you back on your feet in no time.
The first way to prevent this injury is to make sure you are using the right tools for the job. For normal, fluffy snow, use a shovel that is lightweight but durable, so as not to add more weight to the job. It is also helpful to buy a shovel that contains a curved handle, this allows less bending when picking up and moving the snow ¹. If you are trying to shovel away an icy patch, try using a shovel with a metal tip, or another tool, such as a steel ice chopper, to chip away or scrape the ice to make it easier to lift. By doing this, you lower the risk of hurting yourself by trying to shovel through heavy ice.
Protect Your Back While Shoveling Snow
Another way to protect your back when shoveling snow is to treat the task as you would any other workout and give yourself time to stretch and warm up before beginning. When shoveling, you are using many muscles that you likely do not exercise regularly; by stretching, you are giving those muscles a chance to loosen up, preventing cramps and other muscular injuries. Make sure that you also allow yourself time to warm-up and stretch again before showering to allow your muscles to loosen once again. ²
Even if you do everything right, it is still possible to injure back while shoveling. The most common back injury you may get is a muscle strain or a sprain of the ligaments in the lower back. Both of these are painful and may produce a lot of muscle guarding or spasm. A more serious back injury that can be a result of lifting heavy snow are a slipped disc (disc protrusion) or herniated disc. A slipped disc happens when the fibers within the disc tear a bit, allowing the gelatinous material inside the disc to slip out a bit. This can cause pressure on the nerve and lower back pain. A herniated disc occurs when the gelatinous material of the inner disc squeezes out of place, tearing the outer fibers, and pinching the spinal nerve. With either of these situations, you may have pain down your leg called sciatica. With any of these conditions, we would examine you to determine the exact diagnosis. These conditions can be treated effectively with chiropractic care. If, however, there is no improvement, we may refer you for an x-ray or MRI of the spine or to another specialist that we work with.
When shoveling heavy snow, it is possible to experience one of these lower back or even upper back injuries; but it is also possible to prevent these injuries by bending down and lifting with your legs, in order to prevent further back pain. Most back injuries can be extremely painful and uncomfortable, but they can be easily be treated with chiropractic care.
Proper Back Pain Treatment After Snow Shoveling
At the Chiropractic Health Center of Bristol, we treat many patients with lower back pain cause by strenuous activity, such as shoveling snow. Thankfully, many of these back injuries can be treated rather quickly with the proper treatment plan set up by one of our doctors. By using many different techniques, we can help reduce the spasm, the pain, and correct the problem so it is less likely to happen again.
If you are interested in setting up an appointment, please feel free to contact our office at 860-583-4346 to speak with one of our staff members today! If you prefer, you can fill out the form below and someone will contact you.
¹ Spine Health Snow – Shoveling Techniques
² Spine Universe – Shovel Snow Prevent Back Pain