By Dr. Joseph Stockwell
I wish I owned a snow blower so that I didn’t have to break my back shoveling the snow by hand off of my driveway and sidewalk.
I could simply walk behind this amazing machine that literally picks the snow up off of the ground and throws it to the side without me having to do anything but lean forward and walk. A simply brilliant idea don’t you think?
Well, so much for wishful thinking. I don’t own a snow blower and therefore I must use my brute strength to slide my snow shovel under the snow, lift it up and then toss the snow off to the side…over and over and over again until the job is done.
Now, I need to be clear on something here. I am a chiropractor. I understand how the human body works especially in the neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle, skeletal) sense and I am able to maneuver a snow shovel very well but the work involved can still make me sore. I’m sure if I wasn’t shoveling the snow the correct way, I could end up hurting myself much more than I already do. So to make sure you don’t strain, sprain, slip or herniate any part of your body, let’s talk about how to do it right.
Snow shoveling Posture 101
Always keep in mind your center of gravity. This point at which your whole body moves around is located just below your belly button and about 3 inches in front of your spine. As you move around, it’s important to keep this point centered within your stance.
Keep your feet a bit further apart to give you more stability. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight. This engages more muscle activity in your legs which will provide better balance and support.
It may seem a bit odd at first but after a few scoops of snow, switch sides on which you hold the shovel and switch the position of your feet. This will redistribute the stress load onto different areas of your body which will not only protect you but will give you more stamina.
With a little bit of practice and one step at a time, you’ll be shoveling like a pro.