How to shovel WITHOUT hurting your back!

how to shovel without hurting your back

Snow shoveling is one of the more common causes of back injuries during the winter months. Tens of thousands of people will hurt their backs while shoveling snow this year! I would love if you were not one of them! 

Most people hurt their backs because they don’t know how to move correctly.  Your low back is meant to stabilize and protect your spine from injury, it is NOT meant for heavy lifting. When we do use the back too much or for heavy lifting, it places excesses force on the spinal structures that can eventually lead to things like herniated discs, back spasms, and even hernias.

So here are some simple tips you can use to avoid having to come see us, although we do love to see your face just not for things like this! 🙂

Tips to not hurt yourself while shoveling:

  1. Don’t hutch over when lifting the snow. I see this ALL the time, and most people know that keeping a straight back when lifting is key, but for some reason, a lot of people forget to apply this to shoveling.  I see people rounding their backs to bend over and not bending at the knees. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and lift from your knees, like you’re doing a squat.

  2. Better yet, don’t lift the snow – push it! The best option is to use your body to push the snow in front of you. If you have room, push the snow to the side rather than lifting and throwing it.

  3. Be careful when you are putting it down – don’t get lazy.  You might be careful when you are lifting but most people forgot to be careful when they are putting heavy things down or throwing snow because they just let gravity or momentum do the work. When we get lazy and don’t think about it, we let all of our stabilizing muscles turn off and therefore have no more protection of the spine. Stay in control the whole time and try not to twist when throwing the snow. 

  4. Find someone else to do it! If you have or are prone to back injuries, if possible, find someone else to do the heavy lifting. This will save you a lot of aches and pains! 

  5. Listen to your body – if it’s time for a break, take a break! Go inside for a few minutes to warm up and finish the job later. If you are experiencing any aches and pains, it’s also a good time to take a break and rethink #4 ;). 

  6. Join us for Pilates! Pilates is the #1 exercise for injury prevention, especially low back pain! Come check out our Small Group Clinical Pilates Classes every Monday at 5:30pm.

So there you go, I hope this article is able to help you make a better decision for your health and if you think a friend or family member would benefit from reading this (or needs to read it), feel free to share it with them.

If you’re looking for some more FREE help with your back problem, get your copy of this 100% FREE special report I wrote on “How To Finally END Back Pain & Stiffness – Without Taking Painkillers or Having To See Your Doctor!”

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About The Author

Casey Murphy

Dr. Casey Murphy is the Founder of Wheat Ridge’s Leading Specialist Physical Therapy Practice for People in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s+, who want to keep healthy and active. You may know of Casey for her ability to keep people free from painkillers, injections, and surgery. Her mission is to keep people from being sidelined from life and get them back to doing the things they love. Dr. Murphy is also certified in Pilates and teaches rehab Pilates classes as well as utilizes her training to assist in recovery and regaining motor control and stability.