Winter Storm Juno: Proper Shoveling Tips for Back and Spine Health

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The Northeast is in for its first big snowstorm of 2015. Winter Storm Juno may not have dumped 1 – 2 feet of snow as forecasted, but many residents in New Jersey will be shoveling their driveways today.
Shoveling and snow blowing injuries are common right after a storm. According to statistics from the US Consumer of Product Safety Commission, in 2013:
• 28,000 people were treated in hospitals for injuries that occurred while shoveling snow
• 6,000 people were injured while using a snow blower
Proper techniques will lower your risk of spine and back-related injuries. Here are what some NJ chiropractors recommend:
Snow Removal Tips
1. Push the snow. Improper lifting of snow can result in back injuries. Instead, push the snow to alleviate undue stress on the spine.
2. Lift snow properly. If you must lift snow, do it properly. Enter a squatting position with your knees bent and back straight. Never bend at the waist to lift snow.
3. Never throw snow. Throwing snow over your shoulder with a shovel can cause stress to your back and result in injury.
4. Start slow. Cold muscles are more prone to injury. Perform light exercise of very light shoveling to warm up your muscles prior to shoveling.
5. Pace yourself. As your muscles grow tired, you’ll be more susceptible to injuries. Remember to take breaks.
6. Wear proper attire. Gloves, boots and water-repellent clothing will allow you to shovel safely.
7. Start early. Wet snow can weigh as much as 25 pounds when shoveled. Start shoveling early when there isn’t a lot of snow on the ground.
Snow blowers are a safer option than shoveling for your back and spine. If you have prior back injuries, it’s recommended to use a snow blower.
If your back begins to hurt or you become injured, stop immediately. Continued shoveling can lead to further complications.
Neck and back pain is best treated quickly by a NJ chiropractor. If you are injured while shoveling snow or using a snow blower, make sure to see your chiropractor as soon as possible.