Snow Removal Safety Tips
Before you start shoveling and scrapping the ice off your windshield, Dr. Gibson at RTP Chiropractic in Morrisville cautions you to consider the possible consequences: upper or lower back strain, neck strain and pain in the shoulders.
Just as playing football or golf can injure your body, the twisting, turning, bending and reaching of shoveling can also cause injury if your body is unprepared. Like an athlete, if you leap into something without warming up or knowing how to do it properly, the chances of injury increase. To prevent unnecessary strain and pain, consider these simple tips before you get started:
-Wear supportive shoes. Good foot and arch support can prevent some back strain. But also make sure they have a good sole just in case you step on a patch of ice.
-Stand as straight as possible, and keep your head up as you shovel.
When it’s still chilly outside, avoid the cold or layer up.
-When shoveling, use a “scissors” stance: right foot forward and left foot back for a few minutes, then reverse, putting your left foot forward and right foot back.
-Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up the shovel full of snow. Make the piles small to decrease the possibility of back strain.
Wear a hat, shoes and protective glasses to help avoid glare from the sun. To avoid blisters, try wearing gloves.
-Drink lots of water before and after your work.
-Take frequent breaks from the activity of the day. Muscle fatigue may be felt when using any of these devices for an extended period of time.
If you are using a snow blower, wear hearing protection.
While it is critical to operate yard equipment safely, it is equally important to prepare your body for the work you are about to do. To help avoid injury, be sure to include a warm-up/cool-down period that involves stretching. Breathe in and out slowly throughout each stretching exercise until the muscle is stretched to its furthest point. At that point, hold your breath in; when you relax, breathe out. Stretch gently and smoothly. Do not bounce or jerk your body in any way and stretch as far as you can comfortably. You should not feel pain. Get the most out of the time you spend in the yard with these stretches:
Stand up and prop your heel on a back door step or stool with your knee slightly bent. Bend forward until you feel a slight pull at the back of the thigh, called the hamstring. You may need to stabilize yourself by holding on to a garage door handle or sturdy tree branch. Hold the position for 20 seconds, then relax. Do it once more, and then repeat with the other leg.
Stand up and put your right hand against a wall or other stable surface. Bend your left knee and grab your ankle with your left hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks to stretch your quadriceps muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold that position for 20 seconds, relax and do it again. Repeat with the other leg.
Weave your fingers together above your head with your palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the side of your upper body, then reverse. Repeat two or three times.
“Hug your best friend”- Wrap your arms around yourself after letting your breath out and rotate to one side as far as you can go. Hold for 10 seconds; then reverse. Repeat two or three times.
Chiropractic Care Can Help
If you experience pain or discomfort following yard work, contact a doctor of chiropractic. Dr. Gibson at RTP Chiropractic in Morrisville NC is trained and licensed to treat the musculoskeletal system and can also help you lead a healthier life by focusing on wellness and prevention.