After a couple of days of solid snow, everyone around Alliston is remembering what winter is supposed to be like.  If you are like me, you spent a good deal of time shovelling the driveway and walkways yesterday and perhaps found some muscles that you forgot you had.  Here are a few tips to help you avoid injury when winter weather hits and you have to dig out of your driveway:

  • take manageable shovels full:  don’t try to fill your entire shovel with heavy snow, instead lift what you can manage safely
  • do not lift and twist:  a common way to injure your low back is heaving the heavy shovel using a twist through your thorax.  Try throwing the snow directly in front of you to avoid this twisting injury
  • take frequent breaks:  Instead of spending an hour straight out in the driveway, break it up into 20 minute segments or so.  Not only will this help reduce the risk of injury but also reduce the heavy cardiovascular load on your heart
  • use de-icing salt instead of breaking up the ice by hand.  I have seen more than one back and/or shoulder injury as a result of people chopping up the ice by hand.  Be patient and let the salt do its’ job
  • stretch before and after: stretching out your shoulders, forearms, and back are a good idea.  Make sure that the stretches you are doing are right for you, and not aggravating any pre-existing injuries you might have
  • if you notice an area of soreness after shovelling try using ice.  Ice helps to reduce inflammation.  Applying ice for 15 minutes can go a long way.  Do not apply the ice directly to your skin, instead put a thin towel over top of it.  If applying more than once, an hour between ice sessions is recommended

These tips are helpful in preventing the development of injury from shovelling.  If you are unfortunate enough to have hurt yourself in this winter wonderland, please do not hesitate to contact our office and have one of our exceptionally trained physiotherapists take a look at you!

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