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HSS Rehabilitation Experts Provide Tips For Back Pain Prevention While Shoveling Snow

How To Keep Your Back Healthy and Strong During the Winter Months

The winter season is now upon us, so heaps of snow can’t be far behind! The Hospital for Special Surgery Rehabilitation Department has come up with some tips to help get you through winter injury-free:

  1. Avoid getting out of bed and immediately shoveling. Warm up before you start.

  2. Remember to take frequent breaks to prevent overexertion and fatigue, and drink lots of fluid to prevent dehydration.

  3. If you feel pain in your joints or muscles, stop and rest. If you experience any type of chest pain or shortness of breath, stop and rest. If the pain persists, seek medical attention.

  4. Do not wait for the snow to pile up! Start early and shovel often so you can push the snow and not lift it. It’ll save you a lot of time and effort in the long run because it’s actually a lot easier to push or sweep than it is to lift it.

  5. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart to create a strong base of support.

  6. When lifting a shovel full of snow, tighten your stomach muscles and remember not to hold your breath. This will help support your spine and keep your back straight.

  7. Use your legs to lift. Try not to bend at the waist.

  8. Keep your hands wide apart on the shovel handle to create a strong lever.

  9. Keep the shovel close to your body.

  10. When throwing snow off your shovel, turn your feet so you don’t twist at the waist.

  11. Remember, if there’s too much snow, call for help or get some else to do it. 50 dollars is a small price to pay to prevent a back injury!

We hope these tips and tricks will provide you with a happy and healthy winter season!


Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center
Rehabilitation Department
Hospital for Special Surgery

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