COLORADO SPRINGS – All of this snow can be a real pain in the back. Physical therapists with UCHealth Memorial tend to see a greater number of patients after a heavy snowfall who’ve injured themselves shoveling the sidewalks.
Doctor of Physical Therapy Joe Powell pointed out that people often overlook the fact that shoveling is a strenuous activity. He said we should treat it as if we’re going to the gym. That means if you have doubts about the health of your heart, check with your doctor first. Also, it pays to warm up by stretching your back and leg muscles before putting on boots and a coat.
Powell said it’s important to keep good posture when lifting the snow. Bend at your hips and knees and lift with your legs. Also, spread out your hands on the shovel handle. Doing so will keep the load closer to your body and prevent overextension.
“A lot of people tend, with these huge shovels nowadays, to get the whole scoop in,” Powell said. “Thinking of it more as taking a little bit more time with smaller loads, maybe making piles and then moving them over.”
He said you should avoid twisting throwing motions and step toward the area you want to dump a load of snow to prevent overextension.