By Kellie Mallam, PTA
Now that the winter months are approaching, we can expect to see snow sometime soon! (Too soon?) There are many important factors to take into consideration to prevent any low back issues following snow removal.
Finding a lightweight snow shovel that fits your height is important. One with a curved handle is best as these shovels help keep your back straighter, which in turn reduces spinal pain.
Hand placement on the shovel is key. They should be spread farther apart for more leverage which makes it easier to lift. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart to maintain balance. Keep the shovel close to your body and bend at the knees, not your waist or back.
Never twist while scooping. If you can, push the snow rather than lift it. If you need to lift it, tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow and lift with your legs, not your back. Try to do smaller scoops of snow rather than a large amount at one time. Scooping smaller amounts of snow may take a little longer, but scooping heavier loads puts added stress on your back.
Be careful if the ground is icy and find shoes with good traction and support. Fresh snow is the lightest, so the sooner you can scoop, the better!