Protect your back
Protect your back this winter

Here in Bucks County, Pa. it seems like the winter predictions for a cold and snowy one are coming true.

“Bomb-cyclones,” blizzards, or just plain old snow has most of us shoveling snow and trying to maintain balance on icy sidewalks.

Not only is it cold, but winter activities like snow shoveling can put a strain on the body. Every year, we see patients who’ve “thrown their back out” due to snow shoveling or a slip n’ fall.

It’s not surprising really, snow shoveling can be difficult and unseen ice is hazardous. One way you can protect your back from such winter hazards is to take precautions.

Protect Your Back from Winter Injuries

1—Warm Up

Chances are, you’ve heard this before, but you don’t probably don’t do it. The fact is, shoveling snow is cardio.

If it’s a heavy snow, it’s dense and wet and it won’t take long before you’re drenched in sweat and your heart is thumping.

Pay attention to your body, take breaks as you need to and do some stretching before you start. One stretch that’s useful to do both before and after shoveling is to hold the shovel in both hands and lift it over your head. Then, do a few gentle twists to the right and the left. This will help loosen your back and help prevent strained muscles.

2—Shovel in Increments

There’s a reason seasoned Northerner’s shovel snow throughout the storm rather than letting it build up. It’s far easier to shovel 1-2 inches than a foot and this is especially true if it’s the wet stuff.

Bundle up and go out there before too much has fallen. Try to use the push technique, rather than lifting. Simply push the snow to the side rather than lifting it.

3—Use Your Legs to Lift 

When the snow piles up and you have no choice but to lift it, remember to bend your knees and use your legs. Too many people hurt their backs by not doing do this but you don’t have to be one of them.

If you’d like more information on ergonomic shovels and techniques for snow removal, take a look at this post from spine-health.com

4—Use Salt, Sand, or Kitty Litter for Traction 

You know that outdoor sidewalks, steps, and porches can be icy. Be sure to prime them with salt, sand, or kitty litter for traction prior to the snow falling and during. If you have areas that tend to stay icy longer than others because they’re in the shade, use ice melting products and if you can, avoid the area until it’s melted.

5—Heat Therapy

After you’ve shoveled, try relaxing in an Epsom salt bath and/or use a heating pad on your lower back to soothe it.

If you DO have an emergency, call the office at 267-247-7000. We accept walk-ins and (crawl-ins) and will get you back on your feet as soon as possible.