Bend, Don’t Break: Tips to Survive the Snow

Last Updated on September 23, 2020 by Ellen Christian

There was a definite chill in the air this morning when I woke up and I know that one morning soon I will look out of the window and everything will be covered with snow. As much as I love the beauty of freshly fallen snow and icicles hanging from the roof, I’m not a huge fan of shoveling all of the snow that lands on our driveway.

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Do you know how to shovel snow safely? Shoveling snow in the winter can be a grueling and strenuous task and if done carelessly could leave you with minor aches and pains. Before heading out for your first cleanup of the season, follow these simple tips to help reduce risk.

How to Shovel Snow Safely to Prevent Low Back Injuries

How to Shovel Snow Safely

Here in Vermont, we get quite a bit of snow. And, since the kids are grown and are rarely home, the snow shoveling has become my job. If you’ve ever shoveled snow for a few hours, you’re probably familiar with waking up the next day with back discomfort . Lower back injuries can cause unwanted stress on the body so remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help if it’s just too much for you to handle.

Getting stuck in the snow

The Shovel Type

Most snow shovels have a straight handle, however, this style might not be the best choice for you. An ergonomic snow shovel or a no lift easy glide shovel can help reduce the strain on your back while you’re shoveling. Look for a snow shovel with a curved handle or a height adjustable handle. This will minimize the amount of bending you need to do while shoveling. While using a smaller shovel scoop will take you longer to complete the job, it will also limit the weight of the snow you’re lifting. Or, opt for the no lift shovel which is perfect for quick snow clean up with zero lifting involved.

Warm Up First

Shoveling snow is exercise. As with any type of exercise, it’s important that you warm up before you begin. Rather than heading outside immediately to start shoveling, warm up your core muscles for at least five minutes before you begin. This can mean a brisk walk around the house or lower back and hamstring stretches to loosen your muscles. Never start shoveling before you’ve warmed up.

Practice Proper Lifting Techniques

Minimize excessive bending to help prevent lower back injuries. Always face forward when lifting and be sure that your shoulders and hips both face in the same direction. Bend at your hips, not your lower back, and lift with your leg muscles. Don’t lift more than you can manage. You may save time with lifting more snow, but in the end, an injury will make everything more difficult. Don’t twist to move the snow to a new location. Turn your entire body instead and walk to the new location to discard the snow.

How to Shovel Snow Safely to Prevent Low Back Injuries

Refuel and Re-energize

Snow removal can cause unwanted aches in your muscles. When you return indoors, drink a lot of water to keep those muscles hydrated. It’s okay to experience soreness and if you do, be sure to stretch, rest and consider using a short-term pain relieving cream. I love Osteo Bi-Flex®’s new Joint Health Pain Relieving Cream. It works on contact to temporarily relieve pain in your muscles and joints and the cooling relief formula combines the pain relieving benefits of Menthol and Methyl Salicylate with soothing Aloe. The new topical cream can be used for the immediate relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with arthritis, simple backache, strains, bruises, and sprains and can be used to complete your Osteo Bi-Flex joint health regimen.

Osteo Bi-Flex® Joint Health Pain Relieving Cream is now available for purchase via Walgreens, Amazon, and Wakefern.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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2 thoughts on “Bend, Don’t Break: Tips to Survive the Snow”

  1. Boy am I glad I don't have to shovel here like I did in Colorado. I lived in the middle part of a circle in my housing development and the snow always drifted so bad, halfway up the door! You sure do get a workout and it's murder on your back. Topical creams and sprays really work well for me so I'll have to try this brand.

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