Weekly Rehab Minute: 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!'

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Submitted by Erik L. Larson DPT l Owner of Spooner & Hayward Physical & Wellness |


We are approaching that time of year again folks.  Before too long, my office will be full of those folks who took it upon themselves to shovel out of the blizzard without proper preparation.  Great job security for me but not so much fun for the many patients who will be reporting lower back and shoulder discomfort.  Not to mention the associated aches and pains of cleaning up the white and fluffy stuff.  

What if I told you 5-10 mins of stretching and warmup could prevent the risk of injuring yourself this winter season?  Simply by making sure you warm your muscles up properly as cold tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up flexible muscles.  Warming up for five to ten minutes before shoveling or any strenuous activity can prevent injury.  After your warm up, perform some lower back bends and arches, hamstring stretches, as well as neck and shoulder stretches. 

Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Here are a few more helpful tips to remember this winter:

  • Avoid twisting your back to move the snow to its new location - always pivot your whole body to face the direction you are turning. 
  • Always face towards the object you intend to lift.  Make sure your shoulders and hips are squarely facing it.
  • Select a shovel with a curved or adjustable handle to minimize extreme bending of your back.  Make sure you are bending your knees and arching your back slightly while keeping the shovel blade on the ground.
  • Make sure you are bending at the legs, not the lower back, then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles while keeping your back straight.
  • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing
  • If you begin to feel tired or overworked while shoveling, take a break for a minute or two every 10-15 minutes.  You can use this time to stretch your arms, shoulders, and back to keep them warm and flexible.  Be sure to NOT use only one side of your body. Switch the side you are shoveling with every time you take a break.

Happy shoveling and remember to enjoy all of the seasons as each is rewarding and unique!

Call us today at either our Spooner or Hayward locations!

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