Stay Safe While Shoveling Snow

Winter is here, and the inevitable snowfalls that accompany it. While shoveling snow can be a good exercise when performed correctly and with safety in mind, many people are shoveling with incorrect biomechanics—which put them at risk for injury.

Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity believed to cause tens of thousands of back, neck and shoulder injuries each year, ranging from muscle strain and sprains to significant medical emergencies requiring emergency room visits.

To protect yourself from potential injury, shovelers should follow these common-sense tips:

  • Warm up and stretch before you begin  (Read 7 Stretches for Snow Shoveling.)
  • Take frequent rest breaks
  • When possible, push the snow off your drive/walkways, rather than lifting it
  • If it is necessary to lift the snow, try using a smaller shovel and lift smaller amount
  • Protect your back by bending your knees

After shoveling, if you notice pain, try:

  • Icing the painful area (Yes, you are likely already cold, but this will help reduce inflation from overuse.)
  • Rest your painful area for a few days

If the pain persist you may benefit from a consultation with a certified hand therapist, a specialist who thoroughly understands hand, arm and shoulder injuries. Consider calling Mettler Center today to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with a certified hand therapist at 217-398-9800.