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How to Protect Your Spine When Shoveling Snow

By Sara Butler

Winter is in full swing and for many people that means one thing: It's time to get out the shovel and start moving some snow! It doesn't matter if you have a couple of inches to clear away or a couple of feet, when it comes to caring for your back there's a right way and a wrong way to shovel snow. Here are some tips to keep your back healthy this winter from the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic.

Shoveling Snow, Really?

Believe it or not, shoveling snow improperly is a great way to hurt your back. It's an action that can place a lot of stress and strain on your back and the muscles that help to support it. One wrong move, or a series of wrong moves, can have you flat on your back in the snow in no time flat. Understanding how to avoid injury and prepare your body for the act of shoveling is key to your continued health and wellness.

Warm Up

Wielding a shovel is exercise, so it needs to be treated like exercise. Don't simply pick up the shovel and start clearing away snow. First, you must warm up by doing a few stretches, warming up your muscles, and stretching out those hamstrings. Yes, you use your hamstrings a lot when shoveling and tight hamstrings are easily pulled, putting extra stress on your lower back in the process.

Get the Right Equipment

It's important to have a shovel that's the right size. A shovel with a handle that's too long can cause strain when lifting the snow, as it's simply too far away from your body for you to lift it with proper form. A shovel with a shorter handle reduces the strain placed on your back and encourages you to bend and lift with proper form, keeping the weight you're lifting closer to your body.

You might also want to invest in an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle. These shovels help to prevent you from bending forward as you shovel -- because bending over can put stress on your lower back that leads to a very painful sprain or strain.

If you need more tips for how to shovel snow the right way, talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today for tips and tricks to help you keep your back healthy but your sidewalks clear.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aurora, Colo.

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