Proper Shoveling Techniques

Proper Shoveling Techniques

Orthopedist in Valley Stream

Lower back injuries have shown to be increasingly common during the winter-time due to the necessity of shoveling snow out of the driveway. During this season, it is important to note proper shoveling techniques to help avoid eventual pain and other complications. In an instance in which injury has developed, Advanced Orthopedics & Joint Preservation is an orthopedist in Valley Stream capable of offering services from joint preservation to orthopedic surgery through the assistance of a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. Below are some useful tips you can keep in mind this season when shoveling snow.

Snow Shoveling Tips

Warm up before shoveling – Getting your muscles warmed up before shoveling is an excellent way to avoid back strain and sprains. Warming your body up can be achieved through numerous exercises such as by doing squats, running upstairs, stretching, or walking. Warm-up exercises can help increase blood flow in your circulatory system and assist the development of oxygen.  

  • Be mindful of what you eat and drink before shoveling- It is advisable to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before shoveling snow. This is because eating heavy meals diverts a lot of blood to the digestive system and thus decreases oxygen delivery to the muscles during shoveling. Your orthopedist in Valley Stream advises you to eat a small snack prior to shoveling. This may help ensure proper sugar and energy levels and will avoid alcohol and caffeine as these substances may affect the regulation of your heartbeat during shoveling.
  • Choose the proper shovel! – Using an ergonomically designed shovel will help you reduce bending and lifting. Consider a lightweight, plastic shovel if possible and select a shovel with a good angle so you are not doing so much direct lifting.
  • Use the right shoveling technique – The proper way to shovel snow is to actually push it rather than lifting it. Your orthopedist in Valley Stream cites the importance of shoveling small amounts of snow with each push. When lifting snow, keep your feet at hip-length apart and keep your back straight, bending with the knees. Remember to lift with your legs and not your back. Also, avoid twisting your back or throwing the snow above your shoulder.
  • Take a breather! – Always stay hydrated with water and be sure to take a break every 15 minutes. Stay in touch with your body, making sure to stop if you feel muscle cramping, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort.  

Remember, Advanced Orthopedics and Joint Preservation, an orthopedist in Valley Stream, is here for you if you encounter any injuries. While the best way to avoid injury is prevention, we understand that accidents do happen. Contact us today to set up your appointment and make sure to stay safe this winter season!

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