December 3, 2019 – As we start to enter the winter season and the dreaded “s” word is around the corner we must start to think about reaching for our shovels and preparing to dig ourselves out.
The incidence of low back pain tends to climb during the winter months. Overall, we are less active and then when the snow comes, we are put in a position to have to bend, lift, and push snow that is always heavier than it looks. It is important during these times that we slow down and think about how we are bending, lifting, and pushing that snow.
“Lift with your legs and not your back” is a message we have all heard in our lives. It is very important when it comes to proper lifting mechanics. As we are working to dig out under that pile of snow, we must get low enough for the shovel to be effective. We need to think about the following aspects of using proper lifting mechanics:
Squatting: Proper squat form is essential to be able to lift with our legs. Practice this by putting a chair behind you while you are standing. Begin to sit in the chair like you normally would but once you buttock contacts the chair stand back up before you sit down. This is how a proper squat should feel.
Carrying a Load: Whenever we are carrying a heavy load with our arms it is important to carry that load as close to our body as we can. As we extend our arms it causes more strain on lower back to stabilize the load which can lead to back pain.
Avoid Twisting: We need to be able to move that heavy snow filled shovel around our bodies to get it off our driveways and sidewalks. It is important not to twist your back to do this. You must pivot your body like it is a log on your feet. Think about making sure the heavy shovel is always over your feet and never outside of them. As you turn your body the shovel and feet will turn together, by taking small steps to pivot, to avoid twisting your back.
Following these simple steps will decrease your chance of having low back pain due to the harsh Nebraska winters. Of course, you can do everything right and sometimes your luck just runs out. We are always here for free consultations to help you start the journey to getting over you back pain.
The Witte Physical Team #homegrown #backtolife