Save yourself a trip to the clinic the next time you shovel the snow from your driveway by following these tips from Dr. Kevin Velicaria, M.D. family medicine:
Warm up and cool down. Shovelling snow can be as much of a workout as going to the gym, so prepare your body with a brief warm-up to get your muscles ready. When you’re done, be sure to do some cool-down stretches, especially for your lower back.
Use the right tools. An ergonomic shovel with a curved handle will help reduce the strain on your back. Avoid choosing one that’s too large because you’re likely to strain yourself if you try to move a load that is too heavy. Be sure to also wear footwear with good grip to prevent falls.
Bend your knees. Protect yourself from back injuries by bending your knees when lifting any amount of snow. Try to avoid twisting your body as you work and you’ll keep your lower back happy.
Take your time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Shovelling too much, too fast usually leads to injury. Pace yourself and do only as much as your body can take. If necessary, come back at another time to clear the rest.
If you do overdo it, there are ways to control pain and inflammation. Applying ice to the affected areas is always helpful as is an application of Awaye, a natural, topical pain cream developed in Canada. It works by leveraging the body’s own defence system and combines two pain-relieving agents to help you get back to normal faster.