Shoveling Snow Can Be A Pain

January 27, 2015

With a blizzard bearing down on the U.S. Northeast, The Wall Street Journal notes the health risks associated with shoveling snow.

“Shoveling your way out of a snowstorm is actually a big workout,” says the Journal. It can strain both the back and the spine.

Experts recommend that chronic back pain sufferers should avoid shoveling.

If you need to dig out, a recommendation is cited from Barry Root, chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, for “pushing the snow rather than lifting it, when at all possible, and bending the knees, rather than using the back.”

An orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the spine, recommends keeping the weight of the heavy snow close to your body.

“The farther away the weight is, the harder the back muscles have to work, because the more that weight is pulling you forward,” said Dr. Hilibrand, who is a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He suggests shoveling in 20-minute increments and shoveling on both the right and left side.

If you’re out shoveling and end up with some back tenderness, be sure to check out the free lower back exercise therapy session available from SimpleTherapy.

Your Journey to Pain Relief

App tracks progress. Step by step guide to pain relief and prevention.

Show results

Free Newsletter

Stay in the know. Our blogs are written by orthopaedic surgeons.