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02/15/2021
Tips for Safer Snow Shoveling
Corporate Communications

With heavy snowfall predicted in the forecast, many of us need to brush off our snow shovels and brush up on our shoveling technique. Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain to the lower back and shoulders. Back injuries due to snow shoveling are more likely to happen to people who may not know that they are out of condition. Following these tips can help you avoid injuries:

  • Use the shovel to push the snow rather than lift it. Pushing the snow will help reduce the amount of lifting and twisting you must do, which will help avoid injury.
  • When you have to lift, lift smaller loads of snow rather than heavy shovelfuls. Be sure to bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back.
  • Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
  • Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help prevent “next-day back fatigue.”
  • Avoid excessive twisting because the spine cannot tolerate twisting as well as it can tolerate other movements. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible, so that you are lifting with your legs.
  • Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.
  • Keep up with the snowfall. Snow is usually lighter and easier to lift shortly after it has fallen. Keeping up, sometimes with multiple passes at the driveway or sidewalk, will help make the job easier and less taxing on your back and shoulders.
  • Backward bending exercises while standing will help reverse the excessive forward bending of shoveling: stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.

Source: – American Physical Therapy Association 

Post your comment

  • Carole T. Herman - 02/22/2021 - 7:35pm (52 days ago)

    Extremely good advice. Thank you.

  • Al Hummel - 02/22/2021 - 1:18pm (52 days ago)

    The length of the shovel handle does not change the weight of the material on it, only the force required to lift it.

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Location Finder

Here's your guide to finding any of the facilities in the Aultman family of health services, including maps and contacts. 

Need a Doctor?

Aultman Medical Group's network of more than 240 providers is committed to high-level patient care.

Schedule an Appointment

Call 330-363-6288 or click below to complete an online form. 

 

Donate Today

You can help support and enhance services, and in turn, help patients and their families who benefit from care received at Aultman.

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