Proper Shoveling Technique to Avoid Low Back Pain

Physical Therapy in Southfield, MI

As the snow starts to fall and the shovels come out again, it’s essential to keep in mind the safe way to shovel the driveway. Improperly shoveling snow injures thousands each year, bringing heart problems, fractures, and back injuries to the misfortunate shoveler. You can prevent these injuries by preparing correctly and deal with any potential damage through physical therapy in Southfield, MI. Let’s try to avoid the back pain first!

Proper Shoveling Form

Here are some tips that will help you avoid the dreaded lower back pain this winter:

  • Lift with your legs
      • By utilizing your legs’ strength, you can move snow easier while putting less pressure on your back. Make sure to keep your back straight when lifting.
  • Bend from the hips and knees
      • When you bend over to pick up snow, do so by bending your knees, lowering your core lower closer to the ground. This technique avoids bending your spine, where the lower back would take on most of the weight
  • Hold the shovel correctly
      • Keep the shovel close to your body, place one hand firmly on the handle, and one reasonably close to the shovelhead. This form provides extra leverage to make lifting easier.
  • Avoid the ‘twist and throw’
      • Instead of twisting your back 180° to throw snow behind you, pivot on your back foot and rotate your body to toss the snow. 
  • Pace yourself
    • It’s not a race! Many try to get the job done too quickly and wear themselves out. Stay hydrated, and take your time.

As annoying as shoveling is, try to consider the activity as a workout instead of a chore. This mindset can help you positively frame the action and treat your body right during intense exercise. Empower Physical Therapy in Southfield; MI, can help teach you healthy lifting methods and prepare you for all kinds of exercise. 

Other Solutions

If you still are having trouble with lower back pain as a result of shoveling snow, there are a few other options to consider:

  • Using an abdominal belt
      • These belts are designed to help support the core during workouts
  • Physical therapy in Southfield, MI
      • Empower PT has a team ready to help with lower back injuries. From healing to re-training our team will be right by your side. 
  • Using a snowblower
      • While somewhat expensive, snowblowers provide a totally different snow removal experience, which is usually less time-consuming but is still a serious workout.
  • Try a different shovel
    • Ergonomic shovels are designed with lower back pain in mind and are sold at most hardware stores. 

Contact Empower Physical Therapy in Southfield, MI

There are an assortment of injuries associated with shoveling snow, the most common being soft tissue injuries due to overworking the muscles and ligaments. These can be very hard to deal with, however, our physical therapy in Southfield, MI can provide an injured shoveler with the personalized treatment that makes a big difference. Empower PT has an assortment of services designed with your health in mind, visit our website to learn more.