How to Shovel the Proper Way to Prevent Low Back Pain

It is important to use the proper techniques when shoveling, to help prevent injuries, especially to your hips and back. Over 80% of Americans will seek treatment for low back pain at some point in their life, and shoveling snow is one of the leading injuries.

These 4 simple tips demonstrate the proper techniques to shovel snow to limit injuries and prevent low back pain.

1. Bend with Your Knees

Make sure you use your larger leg muscles to bend and lift the shovel when loaded with snow. The smaller back muscles can’t take the repetitive strain from lifting larger loads and will eventually become strained causing pain and soreness.

2. Shovel to Both Sides

Most people shovel to one side, dependeing upon hand dominance. Make sure you change hand placement intermittently while you shovel and throw the snow to your right and left.

3. Limit the Weight of How Much You Shovel

Don’t overload your shovel! Maintaining lighter loads, although will create more ‘shovels’, will limit the risk of injury because it is ALWAYS easier to lift many smaller loads than fewer heavier loads

4. Use the Correct Shovel

An ergonomic shovel with an angled handle will reduce the total amount of strain on your knees allowing for a 40% reduction on lumbar strain. Investing in an ergonomic shovel is well worth the extra money and will go a long way to limting your chance of further injury.

If you have injured yourself shoveling, give us a call or stop by for some treatment at Specialized Physical Therapy. Dan, Michael, and Diana are here to help you on the road to recovery!