This Winter, Watch Your Back When Shoveling Snow

THE STORY.

Utah is known for some of the most scenic winter scenery on the planet. Our snow is gorgeous, hands down. But it can be dangerous, too — especially for those who suffer with back pain.

The first of the hazardous conditions that accompanies winter is that beautiful snow itself. With snow comes snow removal, often done with a large, flat shovel and a lot of elbow grease.

The basic idea of shoveling snow doesn’t seem all that risky. But this seemingly simple task actually sends about 11,000 people to the hospital annually, according to a nearly two-decade-long study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. The study showed that one of the most common injuries associated with snow-shoveling involved the back. Back problems may be worsened by the cold itself, which can cause tendons and ligaments to be rigid and sore.

So the next time you head out to shovel that beautiful white stuff, keep these tips in mind:

Be prepared. Before the snow falls, make sure you have a good shovel that is not too heavy or difficult to maneuver. Before you head outdoors, dress for the job. Layers are always a good idea, and a hat and gloves are a must!

Stretch. You may not think of shoveling snow as exercise, but it is definitely a workout. So make sure to take some time to warm up and stretch!

Work smart. Don’t overdo it. If you have a lot of shoveling to do, divide it into sections. Take breaks and stay hydrated. Don’t try to lift too much snow at a time; bend at the knees and lift with your legs, and remember to throw the snow forward rather than over your shoulder.

Also keep in mind that if it is cold enough for snow, then there is probably ice. We all know ice is slippery, but people still manage to be taken by surprise. Thousands of people are hospitalized after falling on ice every year. Such a fall could be damaging enough without back issues, but for those with lumbar pain, it’s even more of a risk. So whether you are venturing out to enjoy the beauty of the snow or to shovel it out of the way as you hope for warmer weather, watch your step!

And, if the prospect of shoveling again this winter is enough to make you curl back up under the covers, we get it. Call Lawn Butler at (801) 513-3988 to handle all your snow removal needs and enjoy a cup of cocoa while we do the heavy lifting!

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