Minimize Snow shoveling aches

Sums it up doesn’t it?

Hopefully you chose this year to invest in having a snow removal company do the majority of the work for you. My husband and I chose a very good year to pass on the responsibility to someone who makes a living doing such a thing so that we can live with less exhaustion and possible injuries. It is nice to not get that intense surge of frustration that usually happens, bilingual swear words and all, when the city snow plow piles up a 4 foot wall of snow at the entrance of your driveway moments after you spent hours clearing it out. Now, I just text my snow removal guy to schedule a time to clear it up in time for us to come and go as we please.
Perhaps, for your peace of mind and body, you should consider passing on snow removal responsibilities to ‘’the professionals”.  Being out of commission because of shoulder and back pain is way more expensive than the cost to hire these people. (Says the person who took until this year to finally do this!)

Even though the majority of the removal gets done by someone else I need to remind myself to use proper shoveling techniques that may not be my automatic go to method when I do shovel.

Here are a few tips to keep our shoveling technique safer:

  • Always try to push snow rather than lifting it.
  • Protect your back by lifting properly and safely:
    • bend from your knees not your back
    • engage your core muscles while lifting
    • avoid twisting while lifting
    • walk to dump snow rather than throwing it

So, if you are guilty, like me, of lifting rather than pushing, having to throw it up over ridiculously high snowbanks because there is no more space to walk to in order to deposit the snow AND you constantly twist in one direction because you are tossing the snow, then here are a few tips to deal with the discomfort and pain that will appear in your body.

If you really messed something up go see a good body worker such as a massage therapist, osteopath, or physiotherapist. You can also book a time with a body tune up specialist like myself to do some one-to-one movement sequencing that can help you unwind from the consequences of overuse and misuse of your muscles. These are but a few examples of options available to help you ease the effects of shoveling too much or improperly. These suggestions cannot be considered as a prescription nor should they replace having a certified, licensed professional asses and treat any injury.

First of all make sure you hydrate well to ensure proper functioning at the physiological level in your body. Drink enough water so that you do not feel thirsty while you are shoveling.

If you recall, from my last blog, you will chose to use heat rather than ice to deal with any muscle aches. A hot bath with Epsom salts does wonders for achy muscles. Follow the link to one of my blogs on the topic of the fabulous benefits of Epsom salts for sore, achy muscles.

Here are some of my favorite go-to therapeutic movements or self-massage techniques that could help you in your quest to tame the snow shoveling aches.

legs up the wall.jpg

 

Let your back unwind in the legs up the wall position. Rest here and meditate while you feel your back slowly calm down.

 

 

 

 

 

Place a therapeutic ball such as the Yoga Tune-Up® Alpha ball in your low back area to the side of the spine where you are achy. Do one side at a time. Find a sensitive spot and allow the weight of your body to press against the ball. You can also do this leaning up against a wall. Do not ‘’dig into’’ the most painful spot and make sure that you can breathe with ease while resting on the ball on each tender point. The goal is to dissolve tight achy points not create bruising or more tender spots. Go gently!

 

 

Take care of the muscles that support your shoulders, scapula and thoracic spine. Simply hug yourself and feel the release of tension between your shoulder blades. Make sure to hug both ways. Perhaps by the summer you could progress to eagle arms. Perhaps….

 

 

 

 

Open up the front of your chest either by holding onto a pole, band tied to a pole or to a door frame. Rotate your body until you feel that gentle tug on tired, restricted tissues. Do this for both sides.

 

 

 

 

Take care of your body now, so that you can go play in this beautiful white fluffy stuff!

Jackie Leduc