Will it ever end?
That's my first thought about this winter's snow!
So far, we have had more than our share of the pretty, white stuff. Since early December, we've had to deal with the full spectrum of snow, wet and ice. While snow is great for winter sports and children; snow shoveling is another matter entirely.
Snow shovelling is hard physical work and while it does count as exercise, it's not the best sort. Shovelling places a heavy burden on underused muscles and the heart. At the clinic, we see many injuries related to shovelling snow. We treat the full range from simple muscle strains to broken bones from slip and falls, back problems and shoulder concerns too.
Accidents can happen when the snow shovel inadvertently strikes another person. I once spent a full day in ER because an over-enthusiastic "helper" threw a shovel full of snow into my son, Sam's face leaving a slash that needed stitches to repair. Sam recovered nicely. Not so sure about me; I've become much more cautious around snow.
With safety in mind, here are some of our best tips:
If you must shovel, choose your shovel wisely.
Depending on the type of snow you are moving and whether you need to push or throw, your choice of shovel is important. This link brings you to a great article on what to look for in a snow shovel. click here to view
Plan your attack!
Assess the situation. What kind of snow fell? Is it heavy or light? Where will you place it?
Tackle the snow early. Snow is usually lightest when it first falls. Shovel as soon as possible before the temperature drops or the snow has had time to settle. A couple of times shovelling light snow is easier on your body than one major effort at the final job.
Push the snow first. Pushing snow is always easier on the body than throwing it. Try to push snow into small piles before you throw it. If possible, push it to the side and leave it there.
We all know the drill; but using good posture does reduce the risk of injury. Face the snow straight on and brace your feet for balance. Bend at your hips and knees and use your legs to support your spine. Engage your core muscles as you lift to throw. Do not twist your back. Keep the load close to your body to help you control the weight of the snow.
Find an alternative.
Purchase a snow blower. Be careful though because using a snow blower has its own risks. If you are injured, check with your doctor or physio before such an investment. A snow blower is not the solution for everyone.
Make a deal. You might negotiate with a neighbour who has a snow blower. Explore the potential of an exchange: babysitting for snow blowing.
Hire a service. There are often posts Airport Heights Community Facebook page from neighbours with plough attachments and snow blowers willing to clear two-car driveways for reasonable prices. Maybe there is a similar service where you live.
Feeling pain or distress?
If you feel any stress on your body, or worse, any cardiovascular warnings (light-headedness, shortness of breath etc) listen to your body. Stop immediately, especially if you are experiencing cardiovascular symptoms, and seek professional help.
If you suspect a physical injury from overdoing it, follow the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). The symptoms should subside within 48 hours. If your injury continues to be painful or the pain worsens, see your physiotherapist. Treating an injury early dramatically shortens healing and rehab time.
We are here to answer your questions. Call the clinic 753-0155 or Click Here to schedule an appointment.