Welcome to Maine winters. At this point, the snow just keeps coming and the piles grow larger and larger. Shoveling is one of the top factors contributing to neck and low back pain in the winter months. Most people aren’t looking at shoveling as an exercise and typically don’t prepare for the hard work they are about to do and for the length of time that they’re about to do it. You wouldn’t necessarily go out for a long run without warming up, stretching or preparing, would you? No, you would ease into it, stretch a bit before and after and make sure that you are running properly.
The same goes for shoveling. I know that it sounds silly to stretch before and after, however, adding a load to a segment of the back and then twisting (much like we do with shoveling) is a major cause of pain and herniations. We’re getting to the point when the snow is heavier and needs to be thrown further and harder. Stretching well both before and after can warm up the muscles to decrease the chance of injury and all of the aches and pains that can arise. Taking breaks every once in awhile also helps to allow the muscles to relax a bit before working again.
This winter seems to be particularly hard on our patients. We were getting a storm a week and the snow was coming down quickly. Regular chiropractic visits can help you to be in the best shape possible to deal with any storm that comes our way!
Here is a great article about shoveling:
Snow Shoveling Number one Cause of Winter Back Pain