Freshly fallen snow can seem peaceful and gorgeous. Heavier wet snow is great for building snowmen and having snowball fights. But shoveling snow can have dire consequences for our backs. Dr. Jeff Winternheimer says the leading cause of back pain is shoveling snow—an activity this city is no stranger to. – CC
Here are Dr. Wintenheimer’s tips to avoid being a statistic this winter.
1. Start with a warm-up. Walk 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.
2. Bend at your hips and knees, not your spine, to avoid loading—putting pressure on— your vertebrae and discs.
3. Shovel smaller, lighter loads.
4. Invest in an ergonomically correct, aluminum (lighter-weight) shovel. The handle is bent to make it easier to shovel without bending over.
5. Push the snow. Don’t scoop and throw.
6. Don’t reach too far in front of you with the shovel.
7. Take breaks.
8. Stay hydrated.
Published in Chicago Health Winter 2012