Shoveling Safety – Part 2


The cold months can be hard on your back. A few blogs ago, we discussed raking safety, because fall raking can take a serious toll on the spine. Now that the leaves are gone and winter is upon us, we need to talk about shoveling! When we get snow in New Jersey, it’s heavy, wet, and there’s lots of it. It isn’t snow you pop out and clean up in fifteen minutes. It is so weighty, it can really do a number on your spine if you aren’t careful. At the Spine Institute of North America, we work hard every day to bring lasting relief to our patients, and we believe that knowledge is power. We want to give you the tools you need to live a comfortable, full life, whether it’s getting sciatica treatment or a few tips that keep you shoveling smart. Read on to learn what you need to know!

We know all about what makes the spine happy and what makes it very sore. In our last blog, we shared some valuable tips for shoveling safely, including warming up and using good technique. Today, we have some more tips for you to consider!

How to Make Sure You’re Shoveling Safely

You need the right snow shovel

When you’re dealing with snow like ours, any advantage makes a difference – especially if your back has already proven itself to be weak or sore. We recommend you find an ergonomic shovel that will make it easier to move the weight. Shovels with curved handles can be invaluable for their ability to touch the ground without requiring you to lean forward. A plastic shovel will be lighter than a metal one, and if it’s well-made, it will be able to handle New Jersey snow without breaking.

Don’t go too quickly

Unless you’ve got a snow day, chances are good that you’re rushing out and trying to clear a path for your car as quickly as possible. We understand. However, rushing, is the easiest way to strain your hardworking spine. We know that you can’t slow way down, so here are some tips for being efficient and safe at the same time.

  • Move small sections quickly rather than building up huge piles that require massive effort to break down and toss aside.
  • If the snow is especially deep, take a few inches off at a time instead of digging in and wrenching your back.
  • If you start to feel overworked, take a minute to shake out your arms, back, and shoulders to keep them warmed up and refreshed. This will keep you going.
  • Stay on your feet
  • We know you’re usually going to be moving as quickly as you can through the snow, which makes it extra important to wear the right footwear and step with efficient care. You could be shoveling with perfect form, but if you fall, you can strain your back in the blink of an eye. To prevent this, follow these tips:
  • Wear boots or shoes with good treads. They will grip a bit better and prevent you from slipping as easily.
  • Spread sand, kitty litter, or rock salt onto slick sidewalks and driveways will increase traction for everyone, which can only be good.

Back injuries don’t have to slow you down. If you find yourself injured or even just sore and unsure why, contact the professionals at the Spine Institute of North America. We offer world-class sciatica treatment and beyond.

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