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Shoveling this winter? Learn how to prevent your back from injury!

On January 20, 2011
By Dr. Nekessa Remy | 0 Comments

When you consider that a shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds, you realize how much weight you have to lift to clear your sidewalk or driveway — on average, several hundred pounds! This can put a serious strain on your spine. These tips will help keep your back safe this winter season.

Don’t let the snow pile up
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once.

Pick the right shovel
Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.

Push, don’t throw
Always push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.

Bend your knees
If you find you have to lift a shovelful of snow, use your knees and your leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.

Warm up
Before tackling any strenuous activity take the time to warm up with some overall conditioning (a 10- to 15-minute walk, even on the spot, should do it), followed by some simple stretching.

Take a break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop
shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe,
or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a medical doctor immediately.

How to stay healthy this winter!!

Dress for the weather
Layered clothing works better to keep your
muscles warm and your skin dry so you don’t
get chilled. You may want to invest in clothing
designed specifically for winter outdoor activity
or layer garments made of natural fibres.

Know when to rest
Rest when you feel tired. Stop your activity
immediately if you experience sudden or
prolonged pain in any joint or muscle. Cool
down by stretching, and change into dry,
warm clothes.

Stay hydrated
Don’t be fooled by the temperature! Your active
body needs plenty of fluids even though
it’s cold outside. Be sure to drink lots of
water or juice before, during and after winter
sports.

For more information please email Dr. Remy at drremy@thechiropracticoffice.ca or visit www.chiropractic.on.ca.

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