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Shoveling and Low Back Injuries

SHOVELING AND LOW BACK INJURIES - Despite freezing winter conditions, the snow brings everyone out of the house. Kids want to build snowmen, adults like to ski, and homeowners are stuck shoveling sidewalks. If you are not in good condition to begin with, these activities can cause muscle spasms, strains, and injury. Even those in good shape are at great risk for injury, especially from shoveling snow. Preventing injuries from shoveling snow is possible. Dr. Corbin, DC and the American Chiropractic Association have recommended some tips to prepare your body for shoveling snow and preventing injuries.  

•    Warm up first. Warming up is essential for any type of physical activity. Concentrate on warming up the muscles between your shoulders, upper back, low back, buttocks, and legs. Include good slow stretches in your routine. "The Stick", a muscle relaxing exercise tool which we carry at the office, is great to add to your pre-shoveling routine.
•    If shoveling snow is necessary for you to get your car out for work, leave plenty of time to do it. Listen to the weather forecasts. Get up extra early so you are not tempted to rush, which will increase your chances for  injury. 
•    Layering your clothes keeps you warm, but more importantly, it keeps your muscles warm and pliable. Don't forget your gloves!
•    Snow straight ahead, not side to side, using an ergonomic shovel is best. Spray the shovel with PAM first so the snow slides off easily. Don’t attempt to toss the snow to the side, which increases injuries. Refrain from twisting altogether.
•    Let your leg muscles do the lifting, by bending your knees before lifting, not using your arms and back for the lift. 
•    Take a break every 20 minutes. This will give your muscles a break and force you to change positions. Use this time to hydrate. Drink water.
•    If you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, or become very fatigued, stop immediately and call for emergency assistance. 

Chances are that you will experience some soreness after the first or second snowfall of the year. Treat the affected area with a cold gel pack or small bag of frozen veggies for 20-30 minutes and then rest the area for a couple of hours. Repeat for a day or two, until the pain is gone. 

If you continue to feel pain or soreness after a few days, it is recommended that you call Dr. Corbin for an evaluation at 775-852-8000. Injuries from shoveling snow are quite common, especially during the first few snowfalls of the season. If you have developed an injury, Dr. Corbin can get you up and running again so you can get out in the snow to ski, go sledding with the kids, or build a snowman - the fun snow activities!

We are here to meet your chiropractic needs. Start the New Year off right with a step towards better health and wellness at Corbin Chiropractic.