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Whether you’ve already experienced your first big snowfall of the year, or you’re still bracing for it…it’s coming.
While you can’t control the snow, or how much falls, you can be prepared to shovel it.
We asked chiropractor Dr. Natalie Carrington, who has been practicing for 29 years and is the Past-Chair of the Chiropractic Association of Alberta, to weigh in on the best tools and techniques.
It might seem like a good idea to wait until the snow stops falling before you head outside, but that can be tough on your body (and you may pay for it the next day).
“It is really important to shovel often when the snow falls to prevent injury,” Carrington says. “When you are shovelling smaller amounts of snow more frequently, it can be easier to manage than one large amount of snow, which in turn will be easier on your spine and your joints.”
She also says that if the snow is heavy and wet, try to push smaller amounts to the sides – lifting and twisting heavy snow can lead to injury.
In addition to shovelling more often, you also want to make sure you’re shoveling properly.
“One tip is to bend with your knees and use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your core engaged and back in a neutral position. This will help prevent injury and protect your spine and joints.”
Let the kids help
No one gets more excited about snow than kids. When you’re getting your winter gear on to go out and shovel, they’ll likely be right behind you.
“Kids can use their own small plastic shovel with adult supervision,” Carrington says. “Make sure to show them the proper form, which is to push and not lift. This will help to protect their growing spine, muscles and joints.”
Another important tip for kids and adults? “Always be sure to warm-up first, as this is important to prepare your body for shovelling.”
Listen to your body
As tempting as it can be to power through, if you experience any sudden symptoms of fatigue or otherwise, take the time to assess what’s going on.
“You should stop shovelling right away if you feel chest or back pain in your body,” Carrington says. “If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shovelling, see your chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe call 911 immediately.”
Here are some suggestions to get you ready for that big snowfall.
Don’t forget the kids!
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