Shoveling snow the wrong way can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system, said the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). If the weather forecast in your area looks like you will be out with the shovel this winter, ACA suggested the following tips for safe snow shoveling:
- If you must shovel snow, be careful. Listen to weather forecasts so you can get up early and have time to shovel before work.
- Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
- Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel.
- When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don''t try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
- Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
- Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury.
- Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.
by Virginia Sutcliffe