Kayal Pain & Spine Center Wants You to Stay Safe and Injury-Free
It’s that time of year again. The snow comes tumbling down and builds up everywhere, sending us into the cold and wind to clear sidewalks, porches, decks, driveways, parking spaces and more. Unfortunately, many of us will end up with excruciating back pain as a result.
Each year, thousands of Americans end up in emergency rooms after shoveling snow—many with back injuries. Kayal Pain & Spine Center’s spine specialists in Westwood and beyond are all too familiar with how poor shoveling techniques can cause strains, sprains, vertebral disc damage and serious back injuries. So we offer the following tips to help you avoid troubling back problems.
- Choose the proper shovel. Look for a shovel with a curved handle. This will help keep your back straighter as you work. Make sure the length is correct. How do you know? If you can bend your knees slightly, flex your back 10 degrees and hold the shovel easily as you begin, this is the right shovel for you. Opt for a smaller, plastic blade. Plastic is lighter than metal and easier on your back. A smaller blade will prevent you from picking up loads of snow that are too heavy.
- Warm up your muscles before you begin. You are more likely to suffer from strains and sprains if your muscles are cold and tight.
- Keep your hands at least 12 inches apart. This strategy improves your leverage and helps minimize body strain.
- Don’t lift snow. Push it. Pushing snow instead of lifting it reduces the amount of strain on your spine.
- If you must lift, do it correctly. Squat with your legs apart, your knees bent and your back straight. Use your legs to lift. Don’t bend at your waist. Don’t remove deep snow all at once. Shovel an inch or two at a time. Avoid twisting your body. Move your feet instead.
- When snow is wet, load even less on the shovel. Wet snow is heavier and will take an even greater toll on your back.
- Don’t throw snow over your shoulder. Load only small amounts of snow onto the shovel and then walk to where you want to dump it.
- Rest frequently. Use these breaks to stretch your back, arms and legs.
- If there’s room in your budget, consider buying a snow blower. When you operate it properly, your spine will be under less strain.
- Feeling pain? Stop right away! When you ignore pain while shoveling, you run the risk of more serious injuries.
Whether the cause of your back pain is shoveling snow or something else, the team at Kayal Pain & Spine Center has the skills and experience to diagnose your problem and provide you with the treatment—and pain relief—you need.