7 Tips Can Help You Avoid Low Back Injuries During the Icy and Snowy Winter Season

Shoveling snow with back pain

Back Pain Treatment


Whether you’ve been down the wrong way, lifted something very heavy off the floor, got injuries during the icy and snowy winter season, or you’ve just been struggling with nagging lower back pain for a while now.

In winter, in addition to the risk of falling or slipping on ice, shoveling the driveway is one of the leading causes of back injuries. Fortunately, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery and quickly relieve your pain.

But if you don’t do anything about it and you just hope for it to heal on its own, there is a good chance that you’ll just reintegrate again because you’re not solving the cause of the problem. And that’s a major issue because when you constantly have pain in your lower back, you can’t work properly. You can’t sleep properly, and you definitely can’t carry out your day-to-day job properly.

So today, in this guide, we will go over seven essential recommendations that you can consider to quickly recover from lower back pain and prevent it from happening again in the near future.

What Causes Back Pain in Icy and Snowy Winter Season?

All too often, you’ll be shoveling ice, lifting something off the ground, or just walking out to work, and you will start to feel that tightness in our lower back.

Most often, when you feel the paid, instead of listening to your body, you just try to push through it. This is obviously a bad idea because we all know that shoveling more snow simply isn’t worth it since it’ll just make your injury worse, and it will take you even longer to recover.

The other common mistake is stretching immediately after an injury. Now it’s essential to understand that stretching has its place in the recovery process. But it shouldn’t be done right after getting an injury.

Why?

This is because there’s a high chance that your back-pain stems from a muscular strain, which is caused by overstretching or hyperextending your back muscles.

What Can You Do to Relieve Yourself?

In the opinion of many chiropractors and the NIH Back Pain Fact Sheet [1][2], if you’re feeling the pain that came from overstretching your muscles, the last thing, you’ll want to do stretch them even further. Instead, you’ll want to stop the activity that’s causing the pain and start applying ice to the injured area every two hours for 20 minutes at a time to help reduce inflammation. You’ll also want to get somewhere where you can rest. But when lying down and resting, it’s crucial that you’re doing it on a firm surface. One of the worst things you could do for your back, especially after getting an injury, is to sink into a super soft bed.

7 Essential Tips to Help You Prevent Back Pain During the Icy and Snowy Winter Season

When you first start feeling that pain and you start thinking that you’ve injured your back, your first step towards recovery is to set up an ideal environment and use the right tools to give your body much needed extra support for it to repair itself effectively.

1. Use Agronomic Shovel

As with everything else, including humans, not all shovels are created alike, and as to whether or not you will have to deal with lower back pain will depend greatly on your shovel selection.

Professionals suggest that you should invest in agronomic shovels designed specifically for snow shoveling.

When planning to buy a new shovel, one should be mindful of the following factors:

  1. A shovel must be equipped with an adjustable handlebar, as this will greatly minimize painful bending. Because you can adjust the length of the handle, you will only have to bend your knees slightly and that only to exert the force necessary to push the snow out of your pathway.
  2. Lightweight and durable build quality. Most high-quality shovels are made of stainless steel, reinforced aluminum, or thickened plastic to ensure a lightweight frame without jeopardizing efficiency.
  3. Always look for a shovel with a curved handle. Although they may seem rather irregular and inefficient, thanks to their curved design, they will greatly minimize the need for you to bend, thus eliminating all possible risk of future back pain.

2.Employ Proper Lifting Techniques

When looking out for ways to prevent the possibility of back pain, particular attention should be given to lifting techniques.

If possible, you will want your shoulders and hips to be straight facing and be pushing the snow to either side rather than putting your soul to lift it.

In addition, when lifting, you will want to maintain the posture that involves pushing your chest out and bending at the hips rather than on your lower back. Finally, fold your knees and use the muscle strength of your legs to lift the snow.

Keep in mind that while holding the shovel, ensure you have a good grip and that your hands are about 12 inches from each other so you can further improve your stability. By employing this holding technique, you can significantly reduce your risk of lower back injury when shoveling snow.

3. Warm Up Thoroughly

Several medical studies [3] suggest that the warmer the muscle, the more flexible and colder it is, a tighter it will be and the more likely to sustain serious injuries.

If you really care for your back and don’t want to suffer the excruciating pain, then you’d definitely want to consider taking the advice of warming up your body by exercising or doing any other physical activity for anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes. By warming your body, you will relax your muscles, making them more flexible and adaptable to any strenuous activity, such as shoveling.

4. Firmly Position Your Feet on The Ground

A major cause of slipping or falling while shoveling can be attributed to slippery ground. Often, you may feel helpless in such conditions, but fortunately, there are a few methods that can further improve your grip on the ground.

  1. You should wear boots or shoes with extended threads to minimize your chances of sleeping on an icy surface.
  2. Spreading rock salt or sand on any slippery surface will greatly increase traction and eliminate your risk of slipping.

5. Don’t Do Too Much at One Time

Shoveling is not a competition and that going beyond your body’s natural strength to finish the job faster will only make you a loser.
You should spend between 15 and 20 minutes of your time shoveling the snow and taking a short break before coming back to shovel again. Be aware that shoveling a small volume of snow, even if it’s done at a fast pace, will always be less arduous than shoveling a large volume.

6. Use Snowblower

Are you tired of shoveling? Maybe you’re worried that by shoveling ice regularly, you may have back pain, or perhaps you already have acute back pain. Regardless of the case, you would like to invest in a snowblower that can nowadays be bought for as little as $60 to $100.

Undoubtedly, snowblowers are faster – much faster than manually shoveling ice, meaning less stress on your back. In addition, they also contribute to making your winter more enjoyable.

7. Outerwear

Though at first, outerwear might appear entirely irrelevant to this subject, the fact remains, wearing the right type of boot in combination with grip gloves will not only improve your efficiency but also reduce your risk of slipping and falling on the icy surface.

Call today to schedule your Free Consult with the doctors at Lake Union Wellness!

References

[1] https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926733/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852792/

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