This is an ADDENDUM and an updated post from two years ago. In addition to back pain, its imperative that you hydrate before and after the activity if you must do it at all. Lifting heavy snow stresses the heart, and those who are smokers, have underlying (subclinical) conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease etc., are at risk. For the general masses, the rule for hydration is 1 quart for 50 lbs. of body weight. If you feel chest pain, stop and go to the hospital, call 911. This could be serious.
A word about lower back pain and shoveling snow. You’ve all heard it before, bend at your knees, don’t lift and twist. With the recent snow, and the current major storm going on as we speak, its imperative to get your spine checked in the aftermath. Clearly, it’s a call to action to do pre and post stretching as well as hydrating well.
With recent ice storms in our general vicinity, you can expect more of the same with fluctuating temperatures, shoveling snow that is wet and heavy can result in some serious lower back pain, even fractures!
First off, be consider your heart! Don’t smoke or eat a big meal before shoveling snow. If you have to eat, do so in moderation with plenty of fluid (water) before hand. Eat some fruit that will fuel your body. Do not drink coffee!! Coffee is warming initially but will elevate your blood pressure and that combined with cold to the extremities (hands and feet) will cause capillary constriction, thereby elevating your blood pressure. If in pain, STOP! Whenever possible do it in stages, ask for help or pay someone to do it if you are not healthy! Dress in layers, including your feet, adequate gloves and footwear is paramount.
Think about using your body in the correct manner, keep your back straight and bend at the hips and knees. Make sure whenever possible to push snow instead of lifting and twisting under duress.
When selecting a shovel, make sure it is right for you, not a straight shaft, but one that is ergonomically correct for the job. Use a wide grip when shoveling. If using a snow blower, that too can result in back strains and injuries, take your time, make a few extra steps.
Make an appointment to see me after shoveling. We are more apt to taking our cars for an alignment than caring for our spines! Your spine needs to be aligned too! Chiropractic is the single most effective method of care and is completely non-invasive, safe and without side effects. If you haven’t been in, give me a call, (201) 487-3131