Preventing Winter Back Pain: Snow Shoveling Tips                   

The words "Midwest" and "snow" go hand-in-hand.  So it is a wonder that residents are often unprepared for such a winter event.  When we shovel for the first snow fall we notice some back pain, Midwest residents have known this for years and this is why there is so much angst related to shoveling snow.  Below are a few tips to help keep you spine feeling good!      


  • As you lift with the shovel, tighten your abdominal muscles and do not hold your breath
  • Always bend using the knees and not the back or torso
  • Watch out or ice patches and uneven surfaces
  • Avoid fall by wearing shoes/boots with slip resistant soles.




Tip #1 If you experience pain or shortness of breath, stop immediately and seek assistance.

Tip #2 Choose a shovel that is right for you.   The shovel should be chest high with a rocker bottom.

Tip #3 If possible, push the snow and try not to lift it.

Tip #4 Warm up before you shovel and stretch after you are done.

Tip #5 When you grip the shovel, make sure your hands are at least shoulder width apart and your feet are shoulder width apart.

Tip #6 Never throw the snow over your shoulder.  It is best to throw it at a 45 degree angle.

Tip #7 Remember wet snow can be very heavy.  Lift a little at a time.

Tip #8 Pace yourself by taking frequent breaks to gently stretch your back, arms and legs.

Tip # 9 Consider possibly hiring it done or buying a snow blower.  

Tip #10  If it is slick out, wear flat bottom shoes with a good grip on them.

Tip #11 While walking, keep a shoulder width stance and keep your hands out of your pockets.

By following these simple tips, you are far less likely to be injured while shoveling snow.  Shoveling can place excessive stress on the spine.  If your ache of pain lasts for more than a day, it is a good idea to have it checked out by a chiropractor, as it is probably more than a simple muscle strain.