Shoveling Snow Safely

  • December 5, 2022

While it feels like Summer just barely ended, it's time to start thinking about snow! Sure it's just barely December, but in Maryland, it can sneak up on us at any point.

Winter Weather Can Cause Injuries

Winter weather while gorgeous, can bring about a lot of dangerous situations. Ice on steps, sidewalks and driveways can easily cause a fall. So often in the spring, we see patients who have had a lingering injury from a winter fall. Shoveling snow also has the potential to be problematic. Especially when it's a wet and therefore heavy snow. Think about it. Scooping up a big pile, and then rotating to dump it, over and over again. Then imagine doing that without activating the core properly. Then imagine doing that with an underlying injury. Ouch, right? Maybe the first snow of the season, this goes fine, but (if we are lucky) by the 3rd or 4th you are probably getting and staying pretty sore.

Road that needs to be shoveled safely to avoid injury

What can you do?

Push the snow like you're a snow plow instead of scooping and lifting. This also keeps your spine in one plane of motion and allows you to use momentum to help manage the load. Keeping the tongue on the roof of the mouth, breathing through your nose, engaging your transverse abdominal muscle (by drawing your belly button to your spine- BUT not sucking in and breath holding!) to help prime your core before pushing the snow. Then maintain while you push the snow. It bares repeating, to KEEP BREATHING. So many people hold their breath. Keep in mind that snow shoveling is a work out! You're engaging your core to transfer energy to push, but also stabilizing so you don't slip on the ice and snow! Take breaks and don't forget to drink water! It's easy to not focus on hydration in the winter but it's equally as important as during the warmer months. Dry air will dry you out more, hydrate to combat that!

If you have access to a snow blower, use it! Makes the workload much less. But you can still employ the above techniques to reduce strain to your body.

Physical therapy for winter injuries in Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland

If you've injured yourself this winter, contact our office today!

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