How to save your back while shoveling snow
Did you know there's a right way to shovel, and a wrong way?
Dr. John Giacalone Jr., a chiropractor and physiotherapist, said good posture is key.
"You want to imagine that there's a perfect posture for everything," he said. "If you're lowering yourself to the snow, you want to try to keep your back as straight as possible and you want to lift the snow with your knees."
Giacalone said hinging at the hip and knees is the correct way to bend during shoveling, he added it's important to turn your entire trunk when dumping the snow and not to flick it or throw it aside.
"The wrong way would be flex and bend at your spine and extend heavy and to let the shovel get way in front of you so you're almost reaching out and trying to throw it over your shoulder or throw it in front of you,” said Giacalone.
Shoveling snow should be viewed as a workout, so stretching before and after is helpful and waiting until later in the day also helps.
“If you're going to have a lower back problem, if you're going to herniate a disc, you're more likely to do that when you first wake up in the morning. So, I would wait until later in the afternoon when the snow's maybe melted a bit and your discs and your spine are more capable of handling a load of the snow,” he said.
Alternating arms and direction of which you're turning your trunk, can also alleviate soreness and actually make it more of a functional exercise, said Giacalone.
Finally it's normal to feel some soreness but bad pain is a sign that you're doing something wrong, “Almost like you went to the gym and worked out, that kind of muscular burn is common after shoveling because you are working out in a sense you're shoveling heavy snow, that's normal. Sharp, stabbing, shooting pains, that's not normal,” Giacalone said.
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