The Winter Season is upon us and if this winter is going to be anything like last years winter… we are in for some serious shoveling! Most back injuries and shoulder injuries sustained while shoveling snow are a result of poor body mechanics and lifting too much snow while trying to remove snow. Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep you and your family safe while shoveling snow this winter!
- Use an Ergonomic shovel. Ergonomic shovels have a curved shaft that allows for better leverage and are easier to lift. Plastic shovels are typically lighter than metal ones.
- Proper grip is very important. Don’t keep your hands too close together. Placing your hands further apart improves the leverage, which will allow you to lift with less stress on the shoulders and back.
- Maintain proper spine alignment. It is critical that you keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine. Your ear, shoulder, and hip should always stay in line. To attain proper spinal alignment while bending, you should bend your knees, stick your hips back, keep your back straight, and tuck your chin slightly in.
To shovel snow: keep feet apart, bend the knees, and lift the shovel by straightening your knees and not by straightening your back. If you need to move the snow, walk your feet to where you would like to dump the snow. Never bend at the waist and twist to move the snow to the side. Never throw snow over your shoulder.
Push whenever you can. Pushing the shovel with one leg in front of the other, knees slightly bent and back straight, is always better than lifting the snow.
Lighten the load. Don’t try to move heavy amounts of snow. It is better to minimize the load.