Don’t Let the Snow Push You Around! Tips for Safe Shoveling

Shoveling SnowAt this rate, we may be shoveling into next winter. Don’t let snow knock your back out of whack. Dr. Ferdinand Salvacion, with Memorial’s SpineWorks, which utilizes advanced non-surgical treatment options like nerve blocking techniques and cautions against trying to move heavy deep piles of snow too quickly. Instead, consider these tips for safer shoveling.

  • Push snow forward with your shovel instead of scooping, lifting and throwing it.
  • If you have to lift, bend at the knees and not the waist. Avoid lifting heavy wet snow, which can lead to back injury.
  • If possible, shovel often during a snowstorm rather than waiting until it is done snowing.

If you do injure your back, there are other options besides taking medicine, which may upset your stomach or cause fatigue and drowsiness. According to Dr. Salvacion, many acute back pain injuries are muscular in nature and typically short lived. The following early intervention alternatives can prevent acute injuries from developing into chronic back pain.

  • Treat with rest, stretching and massage to the area.
  • Use localized cold compresses in the painful area for the first day followed by heat applications to the area thereafter. Do not apply cold or heat directly to bare skin or apply for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • If symptoms persist more than a few days, contact your physician for referral to a physical therapist.
  • Take heart – spring arrives March 20, and then it will be time to worry about your golf swing instead of the shovel shuffle.