- Bend with the knees, not the back. When you go to pick up or move the snow, bend your knees. You may have to think about this the first few times, but your body will get used to.
- Brace shove handle against thigh to lift snow
- Use a good shovel with a with a bend in the handle. This allows you to stand up straighter as you push for less back strain.
- With heavy and wet snow lift smaller amounts of snow. Don’t try to push too much snow either, you can injure yourself just like if you tried to lift too much
- Do some gentle lower back stretches before you start to warm up and loosen up your muscles. Flex forward, extend back, laterally bend right, laterally bend left and hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.
- Dress in layers and make sure you try to stay as warm as possible. It is very important to wear a hat, gloves, a scarf, and double socks. If you get cold, you muscles will tighten and you can more easily get injured when cold
- Wear a support belt if you suffer from back pain. Wearing a lumbosacral belt when you shovel will help you protect your lower back muscles. Here is a great article about how to wear a lumbar support belt: How to Properly wear a lumbar Support Belt for Moderate- Severe Lower back pain
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help
- Don’t be too cheap to get the driveway plowed- a back injury is not worth it if you have a back condition
- This applies to using a snow blower as well- let the plow do the work, do not try to push too much snow or move the snow blower to often with out using the motor
- If you know there is 6-10 inches coming, do some shoveling at the 2” mark and then again when the storms over. As snow sits it can get heavier, making it more likely that you may injure yourself. Fresh snow is lighter and much easier to handle. It is safest to shovel snow early, rather than waiting until the snow stops falling. If you wait, the snow may pack down to create an icy lower layer that is hard to scrape away. So shovel twice when the snow is 2 inches deep rather than waiting to struggle with the ultimate 6 or 8 inches.
- Take breaks frequently. This is no marathon against your neighbor. Your neighbor may have a 4 wheeler with a plow hook-up and you may just have your lonely snow shovel- its best to be as safe as possible.
Shoveling snow in the New England area is inevitable during the Winter Season. We don’t like to do it, but we will because we have to drive out of the driveway and get on with our life. But snow shoveling doesn’t have to be painful and put you on the couch for a few days. Dress warm, rest frequently and keep an eye on the snow accumulation – and you will be safe this winter season.
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The Winter Weather is Here: Are you Shoveling Snow Properly?
Today in central Connecticut we had 6-10 inches of snow. We have a very long steep driveway, that needs to get shoveled by hand. Once in a while, our awesome neighbor will come and use his 4 wheeler with a plow hook up to plow our driveway, but we do have to shovel a few times during the winter season. Here are some tips to keep safe this season: