3 Shoveling Tips to Prevent Back Pain..Push Don’t Pick up

by Dr. Weisz

3 Shoveling Tips to Prevent Back Pain..Push Don’t Pick up

One of the most common causes for back injuries during the winter is shoveling snow. This can lead to a painful muscle strain or even more serious problems such as a disc herniation.

1. Warm Up Thoroughly

Cold, tight muscles are more injury prone. Get warmed up by doing a few jumping jacks inside, cat camel exercises or running in place. Then stretch your low back and hamstrings.

2. Use Ergonomically Correct Techniques

Most importantly push snow to the side without hunching over instead of picking it up and throwing it.

When lifting/throwing snow is necessary:

Face towards the direction you are lifting/throwing and avoid twisting
Bend at the hips and knees, not the back
For heavier loads, place one hand as close to the blade as possible
Keep the heaviest part of the shovel close to your body
Limit your arm extension when throwing snow

3. Focus on using mostly Arms and Legs

As stated above, when you are pushing the snow make sure you get momentum with your legs when you are pushing the snow.
Get a fast walking start and make sure you are creating a tension with your arms so those areas are doing most of the work. This will minimize the strain on the back.

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