Many people eagerly anticipate the first snow of winter and bask in the glow of past snowfalls. These are usually the people who aren't tasked with the shoveling duties of the home. The shovelers have very different recollections of walking with a bent gait for several days and experiencing the twinge of pain in their lower back from tasks as simple as reaching for the TV remote.
Why Is Snow Shoveling Particularly Hazardous for the Lower Back?
Shoveling snow combines the burden of heavy lifting with the additional stress of bending and twisting of the lower back as snow is scooped up from one area and placed in an another area. This action is not performed by lifting the snow and repositioning the body to discard it. It is done by simply twisting the lower back from a bent position.
This motion is repeated possibly hundreds of times, on an unsteady surface, in freezing temperatures, which naturally cause muscles to contract, inhibiting their natural range of movement.
Unfortunately, the brain releases endorphins, chemicals that mask pain and instill a mild euphoria when muscles are under stress. This allows the behavior to continue with no signs of pain until the shoveling is completed and the shoveler is enjoying a well deserved rest.
How Can Back Pain From Snow Shoveling Be Alleviated?
Back pain resulting from basic overuse will usually disappear after a few days of rest. Heating pads can be used to loosen the muscles and over-the counter pain medications can lessen inflammation. Rest should still include some physical activity, such as walking, to keep back muscles from becoming stiff
Ongoing pain may be a sign of more significant injury or stress to the back or spine. Movements such as those involved in shoveling snow can place enough strain on the lower back to push the spinal vertebra out of their normal alignment. This can result in pain in the lower back as well as the lower body, because of the presence of the sciatic nerves that are connected to the spine in the area of the lower back.
Chiropractic care may be needed to return the spinal vertebra to their proper positions, as well as to stretch muscles that may have been stiffened or distorted through restricted movement because of the injury.
Chiropractors can also teach patients how to strengthen the muscles that support their spine and stretch muscles to keep them limber and flexible.
How Can You Avoid Back Pain From Shoveling Snow?
You must be realistic in your perception of your physical ability to shovel snow. Too many shovelers die from heart attacks before they have time to hurt their lower back. However, if you're physically active, and you don't neglect your abs (the core abdominal muscles that support the spine) when working out, then you can shovel without hurting yourself. Mindfulness of proper technique is the key.
If you're beyond your optimal shoveling age, the best prevention method is to pay someone else to shovel so you can finally look forward to snow like everyone else in the family.Share
14 November 2017
Ever since childhood, I’ve been a driven person. Even as a young kid, I always strived to make good grades. With my schoolwork, I was never satisfied unless I made a perfect score. As an adult, I still tend to be a perfectionist. For instance, I won’t leave my home until every hair is in place on my head. In my career, I work diligently to please my many clients. Unfortunately, my perfectionist nature often causes me to become tense. Whenever I’m stressed about something, the muscles in my neck and shoulders become extremely tight. Sometimes, this issue leads to tension headaches. Thankfully, I know where to go when I begin experiencing muscle tightness. I visit my trusted chiropractor. On this blog, you will discover the methods a chiropractor uses to relieve tension headaches.