Shovelling snow is one of the most common causes of back pain among individuals of varying ages. It can lead to fresh back pain or can exaggerate an existing back condition. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to shovel snow. All you have to do is employ simple and appropriate snow shovelling techniques to prevent unnecessary pain and injury. Here are the three useful snow shovelling techniques that will get the job done without any involvement of injury.
- Prepare the lower back first
Snow shovelling isn’t an easy feat. Your body especially the lower back isn’t always ready for that kind of task. Thus, you need to prepare the lower back for snow shovelling to avoid further injuries and pain. Follow the basics of an exercise routine even if you are a physically active individual. Prepare your muscles to bear the stresses of shovelling.
Here’s how to prepare yourself for injury-free snow shovelling:
You can try simple stretching exercises to loosen muscles, prepare the spine and improve blood flow within your body. Besides conditioning the spine, warming up also protects vital organs like the heart so it doesn’t get overstressed while you are shovelling snow.
- Put on warm dresses
Remember, lower temperatures narrow down the blood vessels thereby reducing blood flow to the active muscles that work constantly while you shovel snow. Try to wear multiple layers of clothing that are loose, warm and water-repelling. These clothes not only keep the body warm but also improve the blood flow and oxygen supply. You should also try to wear boots or shoes with good treads to avoid injuries from slipping.
- Stay hydrated
It is needless to say that cold water makes you feel less thirsty. This increases the risk of dehydration especially if your body is under physical activity. Your body may lose its ability to regulate heat and make the underlying tissues cold and dumb in dehydration. Thus, it is crucial to stay hydrated no matter what. Drink plenty of water and other fluids before shovelling snow.
These three tips will help you prepare the lower back for shovelling snow without involving any chances of an injury. Drink water to hone your body’s ability to regulate heat. Wear warm clothes and do some warm-up exercises.
- Pick the right time to shovel
The trick to shoveling snow hassle-free is by picking the right time of the day to shovel. Consider the weather conditions to determine if it is a favourable time for shovelling or not.
Tips to remember:
- In case of a big snowfall, shovel multiple times to avoid deep snow accumulation.
- Try not to shovel snow in the early mornings or right after you have woken up from sleep. When you wake up in the morning, the spinal discs are hydrated to their maximum and are often at a higher risk of damage due to herniation of the discs.
- Spread kitty litter or rock salt on the driveway or sidewalk to elevate traction and bring down the likelihood of slipping on ice.
It is easier and safer to shovel snow when you pick the right time to do it. Avoid doing this task after a heavy meal or drinking alcohol.
- Start slow
Try shovelling small amounts of snow on a frequent basis because it is less strenuous than shovelling a large pile at once. Start shovelling loose snow first followed by 6 inches of snow that has become packed and dense.
If your region expects snowfall the entire day, clear a few inches of snow consistently throughout the day. It is better to do it this way instead of waiting for the snowfall to stop.
Shovelling snow doesn’t have to hurt if you follow the steps mentioned above. However, if you end up injuring yourself, do not panic. Get in touch with our physiotherapists at Prompt Physiotherapy to book an appointment for quicker recovery.