Use these Winter safety Tips for back pain! Winter in Minnesota can present a number of unique problems-particularly for someone dealing with spine pain.  Whether or not you have back troubles, these are some good tips to keep in mind this winter:

Shoveling:  People with back pain oftentimes dread shoveling.  As therapists, we know when it snows outside that we may be seeing some sore patients the next day.  We’ve observed our neighbors shoveling from time to time, seeing them hunch over to scoop the snow, then twist to throw the snow.  Over and over and over again.

When shoveling, start by pushing the snow across the driveway or down the sidewalk.  Stand tall when you push the snow and keep the scooping to a minimum.  When you must scoop, bend your hips and knees as though you’re going to sit on a chair.  Keep your chest up.  Use the power in your legs to scoop the snow up on the shovel.  Then pivot your feet so that you can throw the snow without having to twist your spine.  Your leg and glut muscles should be very tired when you’re done shoveling!  Just in case and even though you’re already cold, try putting ice pack on your back when you get back inside to minimize any potential soreness.

It should be noted that there is such thing as an ergonomic shovel!  They have a handle with a big bend in it and look a bit funny.  Those shovels work great because you don’t have to bend nearly as far!  If you’re in the market for a new shovel, we encourage you to go with one of those.

Snowblowing:  The biggest thing you need to remember here is to stand tall!  Sometimes when we push something heavy, we hunch over at our back and reach way out in front of us with are arms.  Don’t do that!  Stand tall and keep a bend to your elbows.  That’ll encourage you to use your large leg muscles to push the snowblower instead.

 Scraping the windshield:  Reaching can be difficult with a sore back!  When you need to scrape the windshield, consider resting the weight of your body against the vehicle and have your feet staggered one in front of the other.  Reach by shifting your weight onto your front foot-that way your legs are doing some of the work for you.

Getting around:   As a kid, usually slipping on ice and falling isn’t a big deal.  As we get older, it’s farther to fall and it sure hurts more!  We don’t recover as quickly, either.  Make sure you wear good footwear with the appropriate soles and treads to stay safe!

At PDR Clinics, a significant part of our therapy program for neck or back pain consists of teaching our patients the tips and tricks like these in order to minimize the strain on your spine with day to day activities.  We are experts at posture, ergonomics and injury prevention!  To learn more about the PDR method of treating musculoskeletal pain, keep exploring our website pdrclinics.com. So keep up to date on your winter safety tips for back pain.