Shoveling snow can also wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system. Here are some tips for safe snow shoveling:
· If you must shovel snow, be careful. Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and have time to shovel before work.
· Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
· Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel.
· When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don't try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
· Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
· Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury.
· Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.
· Stretch well after you are done shoveling. The post stretching may be more important the the pre-shoveling stretches.
After any of these activities, if you are sore, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two.
If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit a doctor of chiropractic.
Simply walking outside in the freezing weather without layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems and cause a great deal of pain. As muscles and blood vessels contract to conserve the body's heat, the blood supply to extremities is reduced. This lowers the functional capacity of many muscles, particularly among the physically unfit. Preparation for an outdoor winter activity, including conditioning the areas of the body that are most vulnerable, can help avoid injury and costly health care bills.
Simply put, warming up is essential.