Skip to content Book Appointment Now

Snow Shoveling Tips & Tricks to Save Your Back

Shoveling snow‘Tis the season to get walloped by the white stuff. While snow can be pretty to look at and play in, shoveling it can cause back pain, sprains, and other injuries. The combination of lifting, twisting, and using large shovels can place a significant load on your back, increasing the chances of injuries. Inadequate conditioning and lack of strength can make you susceptible to muscle strains.

Helpful Home Care Approaches

If you suffer from a snow-shoveling-related injury, our physiotherapist, Brooke Hender, typically recommends using heat for muscle injuries. If the pain seems to be concentrated in a specific muscle and you’re experiencing stiffness or an aching sensation, applying heat can be beneficial. Using a heating pad or hot pack is advised in such scenarios. Additionally, engaging in gentle mobility and stretching exercises can help.

Such exercises could include bending over, arching your low back, or lying on your back and pulling your knees to your chest as if hugging them. While lying, you could also let your knees drop to one side or the other, all with the aim of maintaining back mobility.

It’s essential not to stay in one position for extended periods to prevent stiffness or spasms. Frequent gentle movement and changing positions, coupled with the use of heating pads, can be helpful.

In-Office Modalities

When home remedies fall short, we recommend physiotherapy at West Valley Chiropractic. Brooke guides patients on exercises, letting them know which ones are safe to do and which ones they should be doing. She then usually addresses any muscle tightness with cupping or dry needling.

“Sometimes we’ll get in there and do some soft tissue work on those muscles if they’re in spasm or tightening up. If we think there’s some inflammation around the ligaments or joints, we would use the laser for that,” she said.

If the injury becomes chronic, Brooke can introduce shockwave therapy.

Exercises and Measures to Preventing Winter Injuries

To minimize the risk of winter-related sprains and strains, it is beneficial to incorporate certain exercises and preventative measures into your daily routine. This could involve performing mobility work or stretching to warm up your back prior to venturing outdoors.

Consider focusing on lumbar rotation exercises to prepare for twisting movements. Maintaining core strength and muscular support around your back is critical to provide a robust support system. This will ensure that when you engage in activities involving heavy lifting, your back is adequately protected.

Brooke suggests warming up your back before embarking on tasks such as shoveling to preserve core strength. Utilizing a back belt during physically demanding activities like shoveling can also prove beneficial.

The Power of a Collaborative Approach

Brooke often collaborates with our other healthcare professionals for the benefit of patients. For instance, she may perform some soft tissue work in the clinic. However, if she feels that a particular area is quite tense and could benefit from a full massage, Brooke wouldn’t hesitate to refer patients to one of our massage therapists.

Similarly, if she notices that a patient’s alignment seems off, she’d recommend that the patient get an adjustment from one of our chiropractors. This may help reset everything and bring the body back into alignment.

Additional Advice from Brooke

Before you shovel, ensure you wear appropriate footwear to prevent slipping, as it aids in maintaining balance and supports preventative measures.

Also, invest in a high-quality shovel designed at a comfortable angle for you. For instance, if the shovel handle is too long or too short for you, it can lead to strain. Therefore, it’s worth spending a bit more money on a quality shovel that suits your needs.

Prioritize Your Winter Wellness

We want to help you enjoy the winter season without pain. Contact us today to book an appointment with Brooke or one of our other team members!


Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.