Lift Light, Shovel Right — Common Sense Tips for Protecting Your Back this Winter

Although Durham Region has been spared large snowfalls so far this month, we know it’s just a matter of time before we have to head out to shovel the driveway before dashing off to work.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association’s “Lift Light, Shovel Right” campaign encourages shovellers to stay safe this season by following the following six tips:

Warm up before you shovel.
It’s probably the last thing you want to do before you shovel the driveway, but warming up your muscles with a 10-minute walk (even on the spot) followed by some simple stretching will reduce your chance of injury.

Don’t let the snow pile up.

If the weather report is calling for several days of snow, shovel more frequently to avoid having to move large amounts of snow.

Pick the right shovel.
It’s time to retire your metal shovel and invest in a lightweight pusher-type version. If you must use a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first so the snow will slide off.

Push, don’t throw the snow.
Avoid heavy lifting and sudden twisting and turning movements by pushing the snow to the side rather than throwing it.

Keep your back straight and bend your knees.

If you do have to lift a shovelful of snow, keep your back straight and remember to use your knees and your leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting.

Take a break.
Don’t be hero. If you start feeling tired or short of breath, stop for a few minutes and rest. If you feel chest or back pain, stop shovelling immediately. If you have severe back pain or pain that persists more than a day after shovelling, visit a chiropractor.

Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera are regulated primary health care providers serving Durham Region and beyond. Their training enables them to assess, diagnose and treat disorders of the spine, nervous system and joints and they can be seen without a referral from another health care provider. To book an appointment, call Ajax-Pickering Village Chiropractic today at 905-427-3202.