Monday, March 8, 2010

Advice for the Snow Shoveler

I know you people in Santa Barbara had the pleasure to enjoy record 80 degree temperature in February, blue skies, and beautiful beaches but we must remember that most of this county went through a deep freeze.  This past month 49 of the 50 United States had snow on the ground; forcing many people to shovel snow in order to get out and do daily activities such as grocery shopping or commuting to work.  Even those of us in beautiful Santa Barbara may need to shovel snow (if we choose to) when we visit our beautiful vacation spots to ski or snowboard.
Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity and we have talked multiple times on this blog how repetitive activities, especially when completed incorrectly, can cause breakdown of the body’s tissues ultimately leading to inflammation and pain.  Technique is important during snow shoveling; as it is with any activity that includes lifting heavy items (i.e. snow).  Check out these tips from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) to avoid injuries this snow season.
1.       Lift smaller loads of snow.
2.       Make sure to bend at your knees and lift with your legs; not your back.
3.       The snow shovel should be long enough so that you can keep your back straight.  Be careful if the shovel is too long; it with make the weight at the end heavier.
4.       Step in the direction that you are throwing the snow; do not twist!
5.       Take frequent breaks.
Often if these steps are followed, injuries to the back and shoulder can be avoided.  If you or someone you know has back pain, consult a licensed Physical Therapist (PT). 
“PT’s are experts in restoring and improving motion to people’s lives.  They can treat pain without surgery, in many cases, and reduce the need for prescription medications, helping patients avoid side effects.”  -APTA


1 comment: