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Posted on 01-03-2014

With the snowy weather, upon on us here in New England, I thought I would share a few tips while shoveling to help prevent injury.  Shoveling snow can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system.  My first advice would be to avoid it completely!  But realistically, most people do have to get out there and shovel (or at least use a snow blower).  So if you must shovel, following these steps could help.

Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and give your self time to shovel before leaving for work or school.  This way you are not rushing.

Layer your clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible. 

Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles.  Let's face it, most people don't use those shoveling muscles on a daily basis.  The muscles between your shoulders, upper back, low back and legs are all worked during shoveling.  Take a little time to do some warm up stretches before grabbing your shovel.

When shoveling, push the snow straight ahead.  Don't try to throw it.  Walk to the snow bank and avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.

Bend your knees when shoveling.  Let the muscles of your legs and arms do most of the work, not you back.

Take frequent rest breaks to take strain off your muscles.  When your body and muscles are fatigued, you run the risk of injury.

STOP if you feel any chest pain, get really tired, or have shortness of breath.  We all have heard the story of the person shoveling snow who had a heart attack.  So this may be a sign that you need to seek professional help.  Listen to your body.

So while you, take on that snow, remember these hints and hopefully you will be safe and avoid injury.  I am going to stay inside and have a nice hot cup of tea, because I try to avoid that white stuff!

Yours in Health,

Melissa Tobin D.C.

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