Here came the snow
January 26, 2021 – After the historic snowstorm that fell on January 25th I felt like I needed to take time to reflect on what information would be important for our communities to know about. With snowstorms there are several items we need to consider. Shoveling information, how to get around in the snow, how to condition ourselves for the wind and the cold, how to take care of ourselves after a heavy round of snow removal, and the list goes one. Today we are going to focus on a few of these items.
Scooping Snow: Unfortunately, scooping snow can lead to back injuries. Here are some tips from the American Physical Therapy Association for proper Body Mechanics to keep your body SAFE this winter!
- Push snow to the side (rather than lifting) when possible. If snow must be lifted, be patient and lift smaller load of snow, especially if it is wet, heavy snow.
- Do not twist at the low back when moving snow. Instead, bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible, so that you are lifting with your legs. Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help prevent lumbar fatigue.
- Choose the right shovel. A shovel with a short handle will cause you to bend over repeatedly, while a shovel with a handle that is too long will create a heavier load when lifting the snow. Consider investing in an ergonomically correct shovel and test it out before buying.
- Take breaks when needed, especially if you are feeling fatigue or shortness of breath.
- Backward bending (also known as back extensions) while scooping snow will help reverse the excessive forward load on the body. Stand straight and tall, place your hands at the back of your hips and bend slightly backward for several seconds.
How to Move on the Snow and Ice: In short, “move like a penguin”. It really can be that simple. See the graphic below from https://studyinsweden.se/blogs/2015/11/27/winter-lessons-from-snowproblems/
Of course if you follow these simple tips and you still are experiencing pain or discomfort from snow scooping/shoveling or a fall you can always call Witte Physical Therapy. We offer free consultations to help you figure out your pain and what your next step needs to be, even if it is not physical therapy. Give us a call today in Louisville at 402-234-3333, in Plattsmouth at 402-298-4747, or in Hooper at 402-654-2121.