Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snow (more), shovels, and you

Hi everyone. It appears that Mother Nature is far from done showing us what she can whip up when put in the mood. We've had just over 24" of snow here already, and they say we may get that much just in the next three days. The mid-Atlantic states are not accustomed to this much snow, so it seems warranted to say this once again: Shovel Snow Carefully!

We've mentioned this before, but in case you won't take our word for it, here are some perspectives from someone more accustomed to getting heavy snow week after week: a Canadian chiropractor.

Dr. Evans' Tips for a Healthy Back while shoveling snow.

Warm up: Before beginning any snow shoveling, warm-up for five to ten minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. To do this march on the spot, climb stairs, or go for a quick walk around the block. Follow this with gentle stretches for the back (knee to chest), arms and shoulders (body hug), and legs (forward bends from a seated position). This will ensure that your body is ready for action.

Don't let the snow pile up: Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.

Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel.

Push, don't throw:Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing. If you must throw, avoid twisting and turning. Position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.

Bend your knees: Use your knees, leg, and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.

Watch for ice: Course sand, ice salt, ice melter, or kitty litter can help give where you walk and drive more traction, reducing the chance of a slip or fall.

Wear proper footwear: Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.

Take a break: If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Make it a habit to rest for a moment or two for every 10 to 15 minutes of shoveling. This is especially important if the snow is wet and heavy. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest or back pain.

Back Problem Warning Signs

Leg pain with numbness, tingling, and/or weakness.
Back or leg pain with coughing or sneezing.
Difficulty standing up after sitting for any period of time.
Stiffness in the morning that decreases when you move around.
Pain in your hip, buttock, thigh, knee, or foot.
Inability to turn or bend to each side equally.
Unbalanced posture, when your head, neck, or shoulder may be higher on one side than the other.
Pain which prevents you from sleeping well.
Pain that persists or worsens after 48 hours.

Thanks Dr. Evans! If you think you may have overdone it, remember that your local chiropractor is there to serve you. You don't need to go all the way to Toronto when Waldorf will more than do! Be safe out there.