With the recent snowfalls we have been experiencing, the staff at Watkins Family Chiropractic wants to remind you about the importance of preparation and mechanics while shoveling in order to best avoid injury! Shoveling incidents bring many patients, young and old, into chiropractic offices each year.
Wearing boots or shoes with good grip is important. Many slips and falls can be prevented with proper footwear. We recommend wearing snow or ice cleats on the bottom of your boots for best traction.
When walking on snow or ice, make sure to shorten your stride and maintain a proper center of gravity. You may have heard this referred to as the "Minnesota Shuffle". Many slips and falls can be prevented with this technique so that we aren't extending too much and putting ourselves in compromising positions.
Before doing any activity outside, whether a winter walk or shoveling your drive, it's a good idea to do a proper warm up and by doing a few stretches to prepare your body for the work your are about to perform.
As for shoveling, create a stable base with feet shoulder width apart and put your weight on the foot closest to the shovel. While preparing to scoop the snow, shift your weight to the back foot. Keep the loaded shovel close to the body, making sure to lift with the arms and legs instead of the back. When depositing the shovel load, shift your feet in the direction of the throw and pivot your entire body instead of twisting at the waist.
Remembering those tips should help prevent low back pain or injury from shoveling and may help avoid a potentially embarrassing slip or fall on the ice. Dr. Josh Watkins and Dr. Lindsey Hurlbut are well versed in injury care, but we would rather see your spine aligned!