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Shoveling Snow: Tips for Avoiding Injuries

Shoveling Snow

Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain to the lower back and
shoulders. Back injuries due to snow shoveling are more likely to happen to people who may not
know that they are out of condition. Following these tips can help you avoid injuries:

  • Lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls. Be sure to take care to bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier. Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting. This will help prevent “next-day back fatigue.”
  • Avoid excessive twisting because the spine cannot tolerate twisting as well as it can tolerate other movements. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible so that you are lifting with your legs.
  • Take frequent breaks when shoveling. Stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.
  • Backward bending exercises while standing will help reverse the excessive forward bending of shoveling: stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.
  • If you or anyone you know is experiencing back pain, consult a licensed physical therapist.\

Acknowledgment:
All contents © 2011, 2009 American Physical Therapy Association.
All rights reserved.


Christopher Dinh (DPT)

Christopher Dinh (DPT)

Christopher Dinh earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Plymouth State University in 2020. He has had clinical experience in both outpatient orthopedics and in the acute neurological setting. Utilizing his experience as a collegiate track and field athlete, Chris embraces a philosophy of actively engaging and working alongside patients through a combination of rehabilitative exercise and manual therapy to help them conquer their physical ailments. By addressing the patients concerns using a systemic approach, Chris believes that anyone can take control of their bodies and live healthier and pain free lives.
Christopher Dinh (DPT)

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