Shoveling Snow? Keep Your Back Safe with Tips from the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center

James Harrop, MD

Winter is back to pack on another punch for the Philadelphia region. Temperatures are plummeting and the forecast is calling for high winds, and lots of snow. Before you head out to shovel, make sure you know the proper way to handle the task so that you can avoid any injuries.

Before you begin, warm up your body and your muscles by doing some brisk movements, like swaying your arms side to side, or walking or jogging in place.

Instead of lifting the snow, use the shovel to push it out of the way. When ice is a factor, snow can be a lot heavier and it is important to take small amounts of snow into the shovel at a time to not strain the lower back. “The lower back muscles can get considerable strain when lifting heavy material,” says Dr. James S. Harrop, Professor of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, Director of the Division of Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center.

Dr. Harrop also suggests that another way to prevent injury to the back is to ensure that you are bending from your legs and knees and not hinging at your hips when shoveling. He says, “Shoveling snow puts the back at a biomechanical disadvantage since the shovel serves as a lever arm.” Be conscious of your posture during this task.

Stay warm and stay safe!

To learn more about healthy spine tips, or to make an appointment, call Jefferson Advanced Spine Center at 1-855-81-SPINE.

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Add Your Comments and Join the Conversation

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
View our commenting policy.