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10 Tips on Safe (and Back Healthy) Snow Shoveling

Snow Shoveling is one of the hardest activities on the back. Here’s what you can do to protect yours when the snow flies.

  1. safe snow shovelingUse the right shovels
    Selecting the proper shovel is a major factor in reducing back strain. Consider the weight of your total load, which includes the volume a large shovel can move and the weight of the shovel itself. Make sure the shovels are not too long to comfortably control. Different shovels are designed for different tasks, therefore have a selection of snow shovels on hand if possible.
  2. Push, don’t lift, whenever possible
  3. If you must lift…Using proper lifting techniques is crucial for avoiding injury to your back. Keep knees bent, back straight, lift with your legs, not with your back. Always avoid twisting your back when throwing your load of snow.
  4. Keep each load small You may need to skim just a few inches off the top of the pile at a time to keep the weight of your load at a safe level.
  5. Get a good grip Your hands should be about a shoulders width apart on the handle and shaft of the shovel.
  6. Make your blade slippery To keep snow from sticking to your shovel, coat the blade with car wax or simply spray it with cooking spray, making sure to keep the handle and shaft clear of lubricants.
  7. Shoveling is strenuous exercise; treat it as such Warm up before beginning the job with light exercise and stretches.
  8. Pace yourself; take frequent breaks
  9. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations

Depending on your age, your fitness, and the state of your health, your doctor may restrict your activity level. Take these recommendations seriously!

* Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery