At Foothills Orthopedic and Sport Therapy, we often treat snow-related injuries. Common injuries include back strain, shoulder injuries, and injuries from slipping and falling on the ice. A 2009 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine noted that on average 11,500 people are injured per year in snow shovel-related injuries. Injuries to the lower back accounted for 34.3% of the cases and 95.6% of the cases occurred around the home. So when the next storm hits, here are a few tips to help prevent injury.
Don’t Be Another Statistic
- Start out easy to warm up. Doing shoulder rolls and back stretches can help.
- Wear good non-skid footwear to prevent a slip and fall.
- Use a smaller size shovel when lifting snow to decrease the load on your back and shoulders. An ergonomic handle can help. A larger scoop that you push (versus lift) can lessen low back strain.
- Bend the knees, keep feet apart, and keep the back straight with lifting. Don’t twist the lower back.
- Take breaks every 10 minutes or so to stand up and backward bend to decrease the strain.
- Shovel in shorter bouts early on before the snow piles up deeper.
- If you do think your back strained with shoveling, go ahead and put a cold pack on your back (cloth covered) for 20-30 minutes to calm things down.
- Stay hydrated.
If, despite theses tips, you do experience injury, we at Foothills Orthopedic and Sport Therapy are available to help you get better.