Well­ness Arti­cles

Cana­dian Chi­ro­prac­tors Warn About Improper Snow Shov­el­ing

An arti­cle that appeared in the Jan­u­ary 28, 2004 issue of the Parry Sound “North Star” started with the head­line, “Don’t throw your back out while throw­ing snow”. The arti­cle warns read­ers about the pos­si­ble spinal prob­lems that can result from Improper Snow Shoveling.

Dr. Dean Wright, pres­i­dent of the Ontario Chi­ro­prac­tic Asso­ci­a­tion stated in the arti­cle, “Chi­ro­prac­tors are find­ing that some patients expe­ri­ence back and mus­cle pain as a result of improper snow shov­el­ing tech­nique.” He con­tin­ued, “Improper tech­nique can be any­thing from bend­ing at the waist instead of at the knees to throw­ing snow instead of push­ing it. When you com­bine improper tech­nique with the aver­age weight of one shov­el­ful of snow, three to five kilo­grams, the result can be a seri­ous prob­lem for both adults and the chil­dren who help them.”

Dr. Kristina Peter­son, a chi­ro­prac­tor in Thun­der Bay added, “Back prob­lems can sur­face in patients dur­ing the win­ter, espe­cially those who are unac­cus­tomed to par­tic­i­pat­ing in chal­leng­ing phys­i­cal activ­ity on a reg­u­lar basis. Activ­i­ties requir­ing exer­tion, such as win­ter sports or push­ing a stranded car, can lead to back injuries. How­ever, snow shov­el­ing, slips and falls are the top rea­sons patients present with back and mus­cle pain in the winter.”

To help pre­vent prob­lems, the Ontario Chi­ro­prac­tic Asso­ci­a­tion offers the fol­low­ing pre­ven­tive tips:

  • Warm-​up. Before begin­ning any snow removal, warm-​up for five to 10 min­utes to get the joints mov­ing and increase blood cir­cu­la­tion. A good warm-​up should include stretches for the back, shoul­ders, arms and legs. This will ensure that your body is ready for action.
  • Don’t let the snow pile up. Remov­ing small amounts of snow on a fre­quent basis is less stren­u­ous in the long run.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a light­weight, non-​stick, push-​style shovel.
  • Push, don’t throw. Push the snow to one side and avoid throw­ing. If you must throw, avoid twist­ing and turn­ing — posi­tion your­self to throw straight at the snow pile.
  • Bend your knees. Use your knees, leg and arm mus­cles to do the push­ing and lift­ing while keep­ing your back straight.
  • Watch the ice. Coarse sand, ice salt, ice melter, or even kitty lit­ter can help to give your walk and drive ways more trac­tion, reduc­ing the chance of a slip or fall.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to min­i­mize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Take a break. If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Stop shov­el­ing imme­di­ately if you feel chest or back pain.

Ran­dom Article

The November/​December 2003 issue of the mag­a­zine “Autism Digest” con­tained an inter­est­ing arti­cle on the sub­ject of Autism and the effect of chiropractic

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