You may want an excuse to avoid family drama, but don’t make it an injury.

 With snow starting before Thanksgiving this year, you better take precautions so you aren’t eating your dinner in bed! Your back and body have been out of practice shoveling snow for a few months now. If you dive right back in, without proper planning, you may be compromising the next few days, or worse, the next few months!

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from early winter injuries!

Warm Up – Treat shoveling like a sporting event. Stretch and warm up before the “competition”.

Get Ergo – If you are using a shovel, get an ergonomic one (with a bend in it) to help reduce bending and stress on your low back and shoulders.

Take Small Bites – Don’t fill the shovel with more snow than it is designed to hold, smaller shovels are less heavy. Lighter loads will be less likely to strain your body.

You bought it for a reason – If you are using a snow blower, let it work for you, not against you. There should be no need to “man handle” it. Pushing and pulling the blower with brute force can lead to injury.


Don’t lift, twist and heave – Lifting, twisting and throwing snow over your shoulder is a recipe for trouble. This motion with the added weight and imbalance of a heavy shovel of snow puts a lot of strain on your low back. It’s this very motion that is often implicated in disc herniation injuries.

High Sets, Same Reps – Shovel often. Better to shovel smaller quantities more often than to do it all at once in one trip to the driveway. This will give you a rest, you’ll be less likely to lift too much at once and it will be better exercise!

“The Rule” – Lift with your legs. You know the rule.

Hold it close – The closer the shovel is to your center of gravity, the less strain it will put on your back, arms and shoulders.

Push it. – When you can…Push the snow, don’t throw it.

Don’t fall – Wear spikes or boots with great treads. Falling or shoveling while feeling like you are going to fall can be bad. Just don’t fall.

Warm down – Like an athlete, warm down after your event. Stretch a bit, use some ice on sore muscles and ease back into relaxation mode.

These tips should keep you out of trouble. If you do strain your neck, back, shoulders or other important parts. Call a chiropractor for help. Chiropractors specialize in resolving back pain with non invasive, drug free treatments.