Snow Shovelling 101 by Dr. Stephanie Harris
Today is the first day where it actually started to feel like winter. The temperature has dropped significantly and snow is beginning to accumulate on the ground. With the accumulation of snow undoubtedly comes an increase of calls from patients who have injured themselves shovelling. As difficult as shovelling snow can be, if done properly the majority of injuries would be avoided!! So I thought I would share the tips I give my patients with you on how to properly shovel snow and help avoid the dreaded shovelling injuries.
- Don’t let the snow pile up:
- Pick the right shovel: use a lightweight pusher-type shovel that will allow you to push instead of lift. As well, choose a shovel that is a proper height for you.
- Avoid lifting and bending: When lifting the snow, keep the shovel in front of you at all times, and discard the snow in front of you, not to the side or behind you (this will ensure that you don’t bend and twist).
- When possible, push don’t throw: push the snow rather than picking it up and throwing it. This will help you limit your lifting.
- Always bend your knees: use your knees and legs and bend through your hips while keeping your low back in a neutral position.
- Warm up: before tackling any strenuous activity (yes, shovelling is strenuous!), spend 10 to 15 minutes warming up. This can involve walking on the spot, jumping jacks, and light stretching.
- Take breaks: if you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. If you feel chest pain or low back pain, stop immediately. If your back pain is severe or persists for more than a day after shovelling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a medical doctor immediately.
- Dress appropriately for the weather: layering your clothing will keep your muscles warm, which will help prevent injuries.
- Stay hydrated: don’t be fooled by the cold temperature outside, drink water before, during, and after any winter sports (including shovelling snow!)
- Avoid it: If you can afford it, pay someone to do it for you!
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, prepare ahead. Frequent shovelling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow more often, but never letting the snow get out of hand.
Concussions in sports…get informed!
Every era of sports has had different issues to deal with…it’s no secret that we are currently struggling through the era of concussions. While I am confident that adjustments will be made to protect our modern day athletes, until then it’s vital to become more informed!
One thing that’s for sure is athletes at all levels are bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled than they have ever been…and rule changes in sports have enhanced their abilities to show off these remarkable skill sets.
Working with athletes and dealing with parents of athletes means I am constantly asked the following questions: What is a concussion? How do you know if you have a concussion? Do I have a concussion? What do I do about a concussion? Etc….
I recently came across this very informative video overview put together by Dr. Mike Evans: “Concussions 101″ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCCD52Pty4A
I suggest you take the 5 minutes and watch it! Hats off to Dr. Evans for putting it together so nicely!
To all those parents out there: get your kids to watch it too because symptoms are often difficult to detect from the outside in.
Finally, if you think you or your child has been concussed, consult a health care professional!!
Stay Healthy, Stay Active, and most importantly Keep Smiling