It is winter in Rochester, NY, which means lots of snow and the hard work that comes with it. Shoveling driveways and walkways can bring on some serious back pain. Each year, that first heavy snowfall brings many people in to see their favorite Rochester chiropractor. Many of these cold-weather injuries can be prevented by utilizing proper techniques and equipment. Here are some best practices to follow to avoid back pain when shoveling snow.

1. Use the proper equipment

  • The future of snow removal is here and no longer are we using old heavy metal shovels with wooden handles. New shovels are ergonomically designed and made of lightweight plastic. These new models allow for safer and more effective snow removal that is easier on your back.

2. Lift with your knees and not your back

  • Instead of bending at the waist and lifting the heavy snow pile with your back, try to maintain a neutral curve in your spine. To do this, engage your core, bend your knees, and lift the load with your arms. Back injuries most commonly occur when people twist their bodies when throwing the snow. Instead, just take a few steps to turn your body toward the pile to dump.

3. Bundle up with the right gear

  • Just stepping out into the cold weather can flare up old injuries. Wear plenty of layers of warm clothes to keep your joints and muscles loose while working. Also, be sure to wear a good pair of non-slip boots or shoes to avoid falls on any ice that may have formed under the snow.

4. Warm-up before starting

  • This may be the first exercise you will have participated in since winter has begun and you probably haven’t used the necessary muscles since last winter. Warm them up by doing some light stretches, a few lunges, and some jumping jacks.

5. Plan accordingly

  • Keep an eye on the forecast and stay up to date on the upcoming snowfall. Make sure you have enough time to clear your driveway without having to rush. Quick movements while doing a rushed shovel job can easily result in a sprain or strain of your back. Also, break up the driveway into sections and take breaks. (if you ever feel chest pain or shortness of breath, stop shoveling right away. If the pain persists you may need medical attention)

Despite everything, you may still feel pain and soreness from shoveling after a heavy snowfall. Luckily your chiropractor in Rochester is here to help. At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, we are equipped to deal with any injury resulting from shoveling. Our office will help relax muscles, adjust the joints in your back, and get you feeling pain-free. If you are feeling off after clearing out the driveway, give us a call today.