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How Five to Seven Pounds of Lifting Can Ruin Your Day

If you live in (or visit)  any of the snow prone states, you just might be bound to perform the most dreaded of all winter chores, shoveling snow.

Each shovelful of the white congregated flakes weighs five to seven pounds. If you have an average size driveway, that means you might be lifting, twisting, pushing and dumping upward of 400 lbs or so. Plus, it may take you 50 to 75 grunt-laden lifts to displace it all!

Is your body used to the movements it will be making, using short bursts and repetitive movements?

If you maintain a regular exercise regimen, it will be less physically stressful to shovel snow. But, even if you workout regularly, consider the following tips when shoveling snow:

Wear Layers: Loose but warm clothing will circulate warmth to your muscles making them supple.

Stretch: Do some stretching of the torso, arms and legs before grabbing the shovel.

Use good tools: In confined areas like patios and decks, use an ergonomically correct shovel. For larger areas, use a snow blower, if possible.

 

Shoveling Technique

When shoveling, push the snow straight ahead. Avoid flinging or throwing it. Especially try not to twist your body to move the snow. Overall, sudden lurches and body contortions will cause pain, especially later on in the day.

Bend your knees while shoveling. The effort needs to be placed on the workhorse muscles of the arms and legs—not the back!

Shoveling snow can be a surprisingly arduous task.  If you feel fatigued, rest every ten minutes. A tired body is more susceptible to injuries. Rest will provide immediate relief to the muscles while you gather your strength to complete the task.


Injury Treatment

If you experience chest pain, become very tired or have shortness of breath, stop shoveling immediately. You might need professional health care.

You may have seen how professional athletes use ice, even submerging in ice baths after vigorous physical activity. The same concept applies to you. If, after shoveling, you feel soreness in certain areas of your body, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes. Then remove it for a few hours. Repeat this procedure a couple of times per day for the next day or two.

If the soreness persists, it may be time to see a chiropractor.  A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) can diagnose and effectively treat any problems arising from snow shoveling.

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