Are YOU Shoveling Wrong? 9 Tips From Sioux Falls Chiropractic

With the recent snow, the Sioux Falls Chiropractic doctors want you to be prepared! Shoveling is one of the most common causes of back injuries during the winter. Our best snow shoveling tip is to use a snowblower, but if you don't have access to a snowblower, follow these eight tips to prevent painful injuries.

1. Use a Snowblower

Well this tip isn't really fair, but we need to say it. Our very best shoveling tip is to not shovel at all if you can help it! Snowblowers are a great invention that can prevent a lot of common shoveling injuries we see at Sioux Falls Chiropractic. If you don't have access to a snowblower, keep reading for safe shoveling tips!

2. Give Yourself Time

Rushing to remove snow is one of the worst things you can do. Injuries are often a result of hurrying. When we hurry we often forget to listen to our body and that can cause injuries. Watch the weather forecast and give yourself plenty of time to shovel so that you aren't rushing to remove snow.

3. Layer Your Clothing

Cold muscles and joints are more prone to injuries and falls. Wear appropriate warm clothing when you shovel and consider layering clothing to keep your muscles warm and joints flexible.

4. Warm Up

Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel.

5. Use the Right Shovel

Shovels are relatively inexpensive, but we often just work with what we have rather than purchasing shovel that makes the job easier and safer. This year, consider investing in your well being and purchase a new shovel that has a curved handle or adjustable handle length because it minimizes bending which can lead to pain. We also recommend using shovels with plastic blades as they are lighter. The less weight you are pushing, the fewer injuries!

6. Push, Don't Throw

When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don't try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions. Here is a video of Dr. Chris Brandner showing our recommended shoveling technique!

7. Bend at the Knees

Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.

8. Take Breaks

Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury.

9. Listen to Your Body

Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.

After any of these activities, if you are sore, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two, and schedule an appointment at Sioux Falls Chiropractic so we can help!

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