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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic

02
Jan

Shoveling Snow Can Be Dangerous

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Self-Care/Prevention

As I write this, a gentle snow is falling, adding a white outline to the trees outside my window. Who would ever think shoveling snow could be so dangerous to your health? The tragedy of the fatal or near-fatal heart attack or stroke caused by shoveling snow tends to overshadow a much more common problem - back pain.

A shovel of snow weighs 5-10 pounds. This may feel more like 20-40 pounds because of leverage due to the long handle of the shovel. The average driveway will hold hundreds of pounds of snow, requiring numerous repetitions.


We have found bending and twisting is one of the most common ways to put your back out of alignment resulting in a back sprain/strain. You are at high risk for a back injury when combining repetitive lifting, bending and twisting.

Snow presents a challenge to most people in that the cold air is invigorating. You feel like working and warming up. This may lead to fatigue, numbing your senses and masking the severity of back strain. Typically, you want to get the job done, which results in too much exertion without enough rest breaks.

The following tips are helpful for staying safe:

1. Dress warm enough, but not too much to sweat while you work. This can
lead to rapid cooling when you stop.

2. Use a pusher-type shovel. Spray it with Teflon so snow will not cling.

3. Try not to lift the snow or throw it if possible.

4. Keep one hand close to the base of the shovel to balance weight and lessen
the back strain.

5. Don't bend and twist simultaneously. Act like a robot and pivot with your
feet rather than twist.

6. Bend your knees and keep your back straight as possible when you lift.

7. Work slowly. Shovel 5 minutes and rest 2 minutes.

8. If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and rest. Stand up straight and
breathe deeply.

9. If you feel a twinge of back pain, stop and rest. If need be, apply ice to the
area. Ignoring these signals often results in a much more significant
back strain.

10. If you suspect heat attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. It is much better to
be safe than sorry concerning these conditions. Both are life-threatening.

Chiropractic care is extremely effective in treating a back sprain/strain. If your pain does not resolve with rest and ice, come in for treatment within the same week. The sooner we treat you, the faster you heal.



Copyright © - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or 937-439-5400. Mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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