We are in the month of March and are still seeing snow. Will Old Man Winter let up? The weatherman doesn’t think so. Not that his record is spotless or anything, but if forecasts are correct you may want to keep your snow shovel and muscle rub nearby. Since our goal at VacuPractor is to promote good back health, we’d like to show you how to clear your driveway without causing lower back pain.
Since shoveling is a strenuous and labor intensive process, you should be careful not to injure your back. Here are a few tips that you can use to help avoid experiencing chronic back pain during the process of shoveling snow.
1. Use Proper Shovel Lifting Techniques
As you lift the snow with your shovel, it’s important that you use the right posture so that you avoid straining your shoulders or lower back. The best way to do this is to use one hand to grip the shovel, being careful to hold it near the blade; while using the other hand to grip the handle.
As you lift the snow, be sure to pivot your body (but don’t twist your back) to your face as you throw the snow. If you’re feeling extra cautious, instead of tossing the snow like you were sixteen again, you can walk the snow to a clear area and just dump it there.
2. Pace Yourself
As tempting as it is to hurry up and be done with it, avoid the temptation to shovel large chunks of snow in a single thrust. Shoveling many small scoops is actually less strenuous than shoveling fewer huge chunks of snow and will reduce the likelihood of hurting your back.
And don’t feel embarrassed if it takes you two or three days to get all of the snow up, as this will help you reduce the burden on your body. Additionally, if the snow is deep you don’t have to shovel all the way to the bottom. Instead, if you remove a few inches at a time you will eventually reach the concrete – without putting undue strain on your body.
3. Give Yourself Frequent Breaks
Don’t forget to take breaks in between shoveling sessions. Five to ten minutes of rest is perfect for this type of activity.You can use this time to stretch your arms, back and shoulders or alternatively; you can just sit down and relax for a few minutes. Also, stretching and warming up before getting started can be very helpful, as warm and loose muscles are less prone to injuries than cold ones.
4. Use Good Posture
As much as possible, you want to face the snow that you are shoveling and push it sideways as opposed to lifting it straight up. Remember to bend your hips and not your lower-back. Otherwise, you may wake up with a really sore back. Also, keep in mind that as you prepare to lift the shovel, it’s best to push your chest out and bend your knees so that your body can rely on your leg muscles to help complete the motion.
5. Get a Good Shovel
Shoveling snow may not be fun but if it’s any consolation the good news is that you don’t need an entire shed of tools to get it done. In fact, the only thing that you need — besides yourself — is a good shovel. Since this is the only tool that is required to remove the snow, why not do your back a favor by investing in the best one available…
The higher quality shovels tend to be the type that come with an adjustable or curved handle; as this can minimize how much you need to bend. If you’re able to find this type of shovel, the only movement that you will need to make is arching your back and bending your knees slightly.
Of course, it is possible to follow these precautions and still experience lower back pain. If this happens to you, bear in mind that it’s always better to err on the side of caution. In this case, that means calling your doctor if you begin to notice severe back pain.
VacuPractor is a Class I FDA Registered Orthopedic Device for the treatment of Lower Back Pain. VacuPractor is a revolutionary new treatment device for lower back pain that may help the 26 million people that seek treatment from a doctor and the 100 million that self-medicate and self-treat. The VacuPractor is sold with a money back guarantee to relieve lower back pain, and it is proudly made in the USA.