Hidden Dangers of Snow Shoveling – Being Safe in the Snow

by | Jan 17, 2024 | Back Pain

Snow shoveling may seem like a straightforward task, but doing it improperly can lead to injuries, particularly to your back. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to snow shovel efficiently and safely:

10 Great Snow Shoveling Tips

1. **Warm Up:**
Before you start shoveling, take a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Stretch your arms, back, and legs to reduce the risk of strain or injury. Jumping into any exercise or strenuous activity can set a person up for injury. At Axcess Accident Center we often see patients who are injured accidently from snow shoveling or even car accidents.

2. **Choose the Right Shovel:**
Select a snow shovel that is appropriate for your height and strength. A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length can help reduce the strain on your back. Having too large of a shovel can also cause problems. If the snow is very heavy in water content it can become hard to push quickly. Also if the shovel is too big it is hard to lift the snow out of the way. Take smaller pieces of snow to avoid injury in this situation.

3. **Dress Appropriately:**
Wear warm, layered clothing, and don’t forget to protect your extremities with gloves, a hat, and waterproof boots. Dressing appropriately will keep you comfortable and safe from the cold. You may not notice you being cold as well since you are moving. Make sure bare flesh is covered to avoid frost bite if it is really cold. Frost bite can happen quickly when it is very cold and windy.

4. **Shovel in Layers:**
Instead of trying to lift large amounts of snow at once, shovel in layers. Remove a few inches of snow at a time, working your way down to the pavement. This method is less strenuous on your body. This can also be applied by shoveling multiple times during a larger storm. Shoveling a couple inches at a time is always easier than a foot at a time.

5. **Use Proper Lifting Techniques:**
When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight, and avoid twisting your body while lifting. Hold the shovel close to your body to reduce the strain on your back. This is where people are vulnerable to injure a disc or ligaments in the back. Know your limit and know the proper way to lift. If you ever feel injured or sore do not hesitate to get checked. Getting adjusted or getting massage is great for the joints and muscles in the back.

6. **Pace Yourself:**
Take regular breaks to prevent overexertion. Shoveling snow can be a strenuous activity, and it’s important to listen to your body. If you start feeling tired or experience any discomfort, take a break. It is good to make sure you do not fatigue yourself. This is where increased injuries occur for many people.

7. **Push, Don’t Lift:**
Whenever possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. Pushing is less taxing on your body and can be an effective way to clear snow, especially when dealing with larger amounts.

8. **Clear Snow Promptly:**
Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls. Fresh, powdery snow is lighter and easier to shovel than wet, packed snow. Clearing snow promptly also prevents it from turning into ice, making the task more challenging.

9. **Snow Removal Technique:**
Start by creating a clear path down the center of the area you need to shovel. Then, scoop the snow to the sides. This prevents you from having to lift and throw heavy loads of snow over long distances.

10. **Stay Hydrated:**
Even in cold weather, physical activity can lead to dehydration. Drinking water is essential to stay hydrated and to avoid feeling worse the next day. Water helps with the muscle tension and with clearing the muscles after strenuous work.

Remember, if you have any health concerns or pre-existing conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in strenuous physical activities like snow shoveling. Additionally, if the snow is heavy or if you have a large area to clear, consider using a snow blower for more efficient removal.

Stay safe this winter and make chiropractic or massage your gift to yourself for a great snow shovel job.

Reach out to any of our clinics located in Salt Lake County and Utah County. If you have been in an auto accident in Spanish Fork, Provo, American Fork, or West Valley we have clinics in these cities. Other cities we often serve with Chiropractic care after an auto accident include Santaquin, Payson, Benjamin, Elk Ridge, Salem, Springville, Orem, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Lehi, Vineyard, Bluffdale, Highland, Alpine, Taylorsville, West Jordan, Herriman, Magna, & Salt Lake City in Utah.

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