Living in the desert means we don’t have to deal with digging/shoveling through snow and ice, but there are still proper techniques, tools, body mechanics, posture, and core strength that we should pay attention to and apply to guard our spines and general health. It is no surprise that when shoveling many individuals experience muscle fatigue, low back strain, vertebral disc damage (herniated disc), and even spinal fractures.
A great deal of these injuries come from excessive stress to spinal structures by slip and fall accidents. Shoveling is a frequent cause of back pain and injuries. Injuries are not only limited to the musculoskeletal system but excessive shoveling can also place added stress on the cardiovascular system. Any hint of shortness of breath or chest pain, stop shoveling immediately but if symptoms continue, seek medical attention.
A study published indicated when handling heavy material with a shovel, the L5-S1 disc has been identified as the weakest link in the body. The most severe injuries along with pain are likely to occur in the back. Here are some tips to prevent injury.
Shoveling can be compared to weight lifting and intense aerobic exercise. To help your body function correctly consider the following tips:
Shovels come in different materials, purposes, shapes, and sizes.
Once you have your shovel take some time to learn the proper technique.
Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and stretch your back and body.
Power equipment is terrific, but if it’s not used correctly, you can still strain or injure your back.
Example: Snowblowers are designed to remove snow at a certain speed but pushing or forcing the equipment to go faster is defeating the purpose of the machine doing the work for you.
You may not realize that you hurt your back. But that little twinge you felt could change your life forever. Getting back to 100% of where you were before the injury could take time and treatment. So, do not take this activity lightly and remember prevention is the best defense.
Injuries that are caused by repetitive movements often develop gradually. It’s not until the symptoms get very painful and debilitating that the individual realizes that something is wrong. Don’t wait, as soon as you feel a tingle, slight pinch, or a little soreness and feel that it’s from your work, get in touch with a doctor or chiropractor.
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