Health Watch: Taking care of your back while shoveling snow

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 4:59 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Hi, I’m Zack Olson with Monument Health physical therapy. There is nothing like a good snowstorm to put you in the mood for Christmas, especially if you are snowmobiling or skiing a nice blanket of snow is a good opportunity to go use the outdoors and we could definitely use the moisture. However, snow does need to be shoveled when it comes down and that could mean back pain for some people. It doesn’t have to though, with the right preparation, and technique, shoveling snow can be a health-promoting activity. Before you pick up a shovel it is important to warm up, do some stretching exercises that will loosen the muscles of the low back and hamstrings. While shoveling it is important to stay warm the cold air can constrict your blood vessels that go to your lower back. Waterproof boots and a nice coat will keep you warm, dry, and functioning. While shoveling snow it is important to know what a full shovel can weigh up to 20 pounds which may not seem like a whole lot but over multiple loads of shovels, it can be a lot. Instead of waiting for all the snow to pile up, you can shovel it in shifts to avoid lifting a lot of snow at once. While shoveling it is important to avoid a lot of stress on your lower back so try to bend with your knees. When you empty the shovel be sure to keep it as close as possible to your body and throw the snow forward as opposed to twisting and throwing it over your shoulder. So unless you follow the birds to the south you’ll have to shovel this winter. Make sure to do it safely. I’m Zack Olson with Monument Health,

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