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Shovelling strains, how to prevent them, and how we can help

prevent shovelling strains St. John's Physiotherapy

This is Newfoundland, and it’s winter. We know we don’t need to tell you that shovelling can cause strains on your body. By now, most of us are feeling the effects of shovelling heavy snow. Don’t let winter get the best of you. Read on for the most common shovelling injuries, how to prevent them, and how we can help if you do become injured or in pain.

Common injuries

  • Most injuries occur from either overexertion while shovelling or slipping and falling on ice. Don’t lift more snow than you’re able, and ensure you’re wearing proper footwear to decrease your chances of falling.
  • Pulled or strained muscles.
  • Shoulder pain from shovelling snow.
  • While many of us end up with a sore back or arms, the most common injuries are actually bumps, bruises, cuts, and broken bones. This reinforces the importance of proper footwear. While a bump or bruise may be easy to deal with, a broken bone is not.
  • The lower back, head, arms, and hands are injured most often.


  • The easiest way to prevent injury is to avoid shovelling altogether. When possible, use salts, deicing sprays, and snow blowers instead of shovelling. When shovelling is the only option, as it often is, consider using an ergonomically-designed snow shovel.
  • Although you just want to get it over with, it’s important to take breaks. Give your body a rest every so often. Then, before getting back into it, gently stretch your back, arms, and legs.
  • As noted, FOOTWEAR. Driveways and sidewalks may be icy and slippery, so the right footwear is essential.
  • When time permits, shovel smaller amounts several times throughout the day for less strain on your body. 
  • Work it out! Do some warm-up exercises before you start. This not only prepares you for shovelling, but puts some exercise into your day.
  • Wear warm clothing, including a hat and gloves.
  • When possible, push the snow instead of lifting it up.
  • If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, immediately stop and seek assistance.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back. Do this by bending your knees and straightening to lift the shovel, as opposed to leaning forward and straightening with your back.
  • Just because you can get outside and hold a shovel, does not mean you are physically fit enough to shovel heavy snow. Consult a physician when you know snow is coming, so you can be prepared to get assistance if necessary. This is especially so if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

How we can help 

At Avalon Laser Health, our goal is help you become pain-free. When a routine activity, like shovelling, causes you strains, aches, pains, and even broken bones, we’re here to get you through it. Call us to for any of the following injuries:

  • Pulled or strained muscles
  • Ligament/tendon tears
  • Low back pain 
  • Neck Pain 
  • Regaining strength after breaking a bone
  • Pain Relief 
  • Improve performance in limbs and back
  • Promoting overall relaxation of the muscles and the body 


Check out our fantastic articles. You’ll learn simple strategies that will give you relief and help you build a healthy body and mind.

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