Shovel Snow Correctly

How to Shovel Snow Correctly

Mohsen Rafieian B.Sc. PT, M.Sc. Anat. MCPA Blog

Whether you are new to the cold climate or have previously experienced the heavy snow fall of a typical Canadian winter, you may be shoveling snow incorrectly without even realizing it. From years of experience, we often see an influx of patients who suffer from Back, Neck, Shoulder, Elbow and  Wrist pain due to shoveling snow improperly. Listed below are some tips which can help you avoid such injuries this winter.

  • Warming up

It is important that when going outside, you are dressed appropriately. Wearing a well insulated  jacket, headwear, mittens and boots which have slip resistant soles is essential. Before heading out, it is also important to warm up your muscles. Doing light, dynamic stretches helps avoid injury by preparing your muscles for the rigours activity of shoveling.

  • Picking the proper shovel

There are many different types of  snow shovels and all have their own specific purposes. It’s better to buy an Ergonomic Shovel which is calibrated to your body.

  • Lifting Method

It’s better to push the snow instead of lifting it. However, if you do lift, do it properly. When shoveling stay in a balanced position and aware of slipping. Bend your knees and keep your back straight and supported. Do not twist your body to toss the snow, instead step around towards the snow pile and toss  once facing it. Move close to the snow pile, overextending your arms while holding the shovel will put excess pressure on your back and shoulders. Do not overload your shovel, scoop small amounts of snow when tossing, especially if the snow is heavy and wet.

  • Avoid unexpected recoil from hitting a curb or hidden obstacle.

When shoving your driveway its common to hit an elevated surface such as the curb. This will send a Jerk  force on the shovel back towards your body.