Monday, January 31, 2011

Shovel Right!

This mornings reporter's article "Health Care Professionals share tips to keep you safe this winter"
missed the beat on "Healthy tips when shoveling". Snow shoveling can increase injuries to the back, shoulders and wrists. The improper use of equipment combined with performing unfamiliar exercises increases the likelihood of injuries form shoveling. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following safety tips for shoveling.

1. Dress appropriately. Light, layered, water-repellent clothing provides both ventilation and insulation. It is also important to wear the appropriate head coverings, as well as mittens or gloves and thick, warm socks.

2. Pace yourself. Snow shoveling and blowing are aerobic activities, comparable to weightlifting. Take frequent breaks and replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care, such as by calling 9-1-1.

3. Warm-up your muscles. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin this physical workout, warm-up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid shoveling packed, heavy snow.

4. Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.Push the snow instead of lifting it, but if you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight.

5. Lift with your legs, without bending at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once; do it piecemeal.

6. Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back. Push snow or lift (with your legs doing the work) and throw forward, without rotating.

7. See what you are shoveling. Do not let a hat or scarf block your vision. Watch for ice patches and uneven surfaces.

8. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles. If you do suffer an injury, remember to take care of your injured body part quickly. This usually involves the use of rest, ice, compression, and elevation

At the Physical Therapy & Wellness Institute, you can see our Physical Therapist without physician referral and get immediate treatment for your sprains, strains, and muscle aches. Remember, the earlier you start treatment after injury, the earlier you recover from the pain