Save Your Back Shovelling Snow!

Here in Toronto, we received our first significant snowfall this week and many of our chiropractic patients were out shovelling snow, some of them used great technique and others didn’t.  You can guess which group came in for their chiropractic adjustment this week with low back pain.

We are likely going to receive more snow, so I thought I would write out some tips on how to shovel snow properly to help save your spine!

  1.  The first tip is to treat snow shovelling like you would any workout that you would do at the gym.  This means you need to warm up before you begin shovelling, if your body isn’t warmed up and ready for exercise, you are likely going to injure your spine and will be calling your chiropractor the next day to get a chiropractic adjustment.
  1. Keep your workload light!  If the weather report is calling for a significant amount of snow, shovel several times.  Believe it or not, you’ll actually save time and save your spine at the same time!  Shovelling large amounts of snow in one session will put too much strain onto your spinal muscles and cause a low back spinal injury!
  1. Use a lighter weight shovel that fits your height.  Tall people need a longer shovel to reduce bending over, and shorter people need a shorter shovel.  The lighter your shovel is, the less weight you lift over time!  This reduced workload will save your spine!
  1. Another really cool tip is to spray your shovel with a non-stick coating!  This will prevent snow from sticking to your shovel and will prevent you from lifting any unnecessary weight!
  1. Push all the snow to the side, don’t try to lift it and throw it.  Once you push it to the side, you can square up to snow and use your legs to lift the snow.  Keep your back straight, don’t round forward as it will increase the strain on your low back!  The number one way to injure your low back is to bend over and twist while lifting any weight.
  1. Take breaks often.  If you find yourself getting tired or winded, take a break, rest for a couple minutes and catch your breath before continuing.  Stay hydrated if you’re shovelling for more than 20 minutes!
  1. Stretch once you are done shovelling!  Stretching afterwards will help prevent your muscles from tightening up!  If you need an excellent post shovelling stretching routine, make sure to consult your chiropractor!
  1. Get an excellent chiropractic adjustment!  Whether you feel low back pain or not, getting a chiropractic adjustment will help to maintain your spine in optimal health and keep your nervous system free from stress!

If you have any questions, or you have recently hurt your spine while shovelling snow and need to see a chiropractor, please reach out to us at 416-504-8880 or and we will be happy to take care of you.

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