Saturday January 14, 2011
Some helpful tips to save
yourself some back aches this winter
Assoc. of Chiropractors
is putting on its traditional white coat and whether we like it or
not, winter rhymes with snow storm! Here are a few useful tips to
make sure you shovel safely this season.
Shovelling is a highly demanding physical activity for your heart
and joints and it can cause many injuries. According to Dr. Robert
David, spokesperson for the Association des chiropraticiens du
Québec, "the amount of patients who see their chiropractor for
muscle, joint or nerve injuries increases during the winter months.
Yet, many injuries could be avoided if the right shovelling
technique were being used."
Extreme temperatures like the ones we experience in Quebec make
shovelling an even more difficult task. To avoid injuries, here are
a few tips that will help you make the right decisions when the
first big snowfalls will show up to your doorstep.
Don't let snow pile up. It is preferable to shovel frequently in
small quantities than to wait until the storm is over.
In order to loosen up your joints and activate your blood
circulation, take 5 to 10 minutes to warm up before starting. To
do so, walk in place, go up and down the stairs, stretch your
torso side to side and stretch your back.
Use a lightweight shovel with an ergonomic curved handle.
Ideally, your shovel should be made out of plastic or aluminum
and designed to push the snow. Its handle should be long enough
so that you don't have to bend over to work, though it should
not be higher than your shoulders.
Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. If you
absolutely need to throw it, lift only the amount you are able
to carry and move your feet in the desired direction. Never
throw snow over your shoulder height. Flexion-extension and
rotating movements cause a lot of tension to your intervertebral
disks and ligaments. Lumbar sprains and herniated disks can
arise from such movements.
Use your leg muscles instead of your back. Don't forget to bend
your knees, to always keep your back straight and to keep the
shovel close to your body.
Don't turn your torso and never throw snow over your shoulder or
Don't always work on the same side; make sure you shovel snow
equally your right and left side.
Wear many layers of clothing so you can remove some if needed
and still be properly dressed to prevent chilblains.
Keep a regular rhythm and take frequent breaks, especially if
you are shovelling heavy, wet snow.
If you feel tired or short of breath, take a break every 10 to
Drink a lot of water. Dehydration occurs as much in the winter
as in the summer.
Watch out for temperature rises. In cold weather, the physical
strain is lower than when the temperature rises. Water
concentration in snow increases in weight and risks of injuries
become higher. So when spring comes, make sure you take smaller
shovels of snow.
If you experience pain after shovelling, apply ice on the
affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rest for a few hours.
Be careful when applying heat, it could cause inflammation.
During the day, apply ice every two hours. If the pain persists
for more than three days, consult a chiropractor near you.
If your spine is not in great shape, the risks of developing more
problems when the first snow storm occurs are much higher. Prevent
pain! See your chiropractor for a full neuromusculoskeletal system
About the ACQ
The Association des chiropraticiens du Québec (ACQ) is a non-profit
organisation created in 1966. As part of its public education
mission, the ACQ seeks to constantly promote educational projects
that enhance public health using natural approaches. With that in
mind, we are pleased to offer tips to the citizens of Quebec for a
safe and healthy Holiday and winter season.
© Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice