The first snow storm of the season made me think of how important it is to shovel snow safely this winter! To help you avoid injury I decided to write this article…. Did you know that more than 11 000 people are treated each year from snow shoveling incidents in the US alone? But the good news is that most of these incident can easily be avoided, this is how…
I often see patients with lower back injuries in winter, so you won’t be surprised that most emergency diagnosis after snow shoveling incidents are soft tissue injury 54%, with injuries to the lower back accounting for 34.3%. So here are a few tips to protect your spine this winter.
- Pick the right snow shovel
- lightweight aluminum shovel with light plastic blade. (snow is heavy enough!)
- favor adjustable handles
- Warm up before shoveling
- Don’t start shoveling after a long seated period
- Sun salutations, in yoga, done in a dynamic way, are an excellent way of warming the entire body up, while also bringing global mobility to help you beat the snow.
- Use the right lifting technique:
- Bend the legs, not the lower back
- Always face towards the object you intend to lift – have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it.
- Keep your loads light
- Avoid twisting the back to move the snow to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
- Keep the heaviest part of the object close to your body at your center of gravity – do not extend your arms to throw the snow.
- Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing.
Your back should be strong and resilient, and it is indispensable to:
- develop a strong core
- improve range of motion
- improve balance
- exercise regularly and include weight bearing exercise, cardio and stretching
- Don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you feel barriers keeping you from having a healthy spine.
All that being said… Whether it be to clear a driveway, go hiking or throw snowballs at each other, any activity in the snow is excellent exercise involving both: weight bearing and cardiovascular activation. Take care of yourselves and I wish you all happy holidays!
Stéphane Baudin graduated from the Collège d’Études Ostéopathiques de Montréal, and is currently conducting research in the field of palpation and the vascular rhythms to complete his Masters in Osteopathy. He is trained in traditional osteopathy, of which he fully embraces the holistic philosophy, and continuously participates in various osteopathic seminars for the well-being of his patients. Trained to treat adults and children, he enjoys yoga, gymnastics, meditation, reading and the great outdoors.
Book an appointment with Stéphane here or use the Energie Encorps app!