Physiotherapist David Locke uses a spine and hip model to explain how snow shovelling can cause injuries. (Jodi Brak-Salmon Arm Observer)

Snow shovel woes: How to avoid injuries in the day-to-day of winter

Physiotherapists see influx of clients during winter months

Ask, exercise and warm up!

That’s the advice physiotherapist David Locke offers to people before they go outside to shovel.

Locke, who practises at Live Well Physiotherapy, says there is an influx of clients in winter, who have injured themselves skiing, slipping on ice or shovelling. The latter particularly among older folks.

“You’re either not shovelling or shovelling a whole lot at once and you don’t get to warm into the task,” he says, of intermittent snowfalls and how many people go outside with a cold body and spend 30 minutes shovelling a long driveway. “People don’t realize it’s exercise, so they don’t warm up like they might if they were going to the gym or out for a run.”

READ MORE: Planning now for Snow Angels

READ MORE: 21 temperature records broken as arctic chill lingers in B.C.

Locke explains that particularly in shovelling heavy, wet snow, there’s substantial twisting through the core and lower back. As well, he says almost nobody is ambidextrous when shovelling, so the twisting is all in one direction.

The result is often injury to the sacroiliac, lower back as well as perhaps abdominal pain, sore or strained muscles and shoulder and neck issues.

“There’s definitely an increase in people shovelling or slipping on ice coming in when they wouldn’t be coming in during summer months,” Locke says, noting that along with heading out without warming up, poor shovelling technique without bending knees to protect the back is another cause of injury.

So what can people do to avoid injury?

“Do simple twists, trunk twists, stretches and knee bends, hip circles and shoulder rolls, and stretch afterwards,” he says, suggesting people ask for help if needed. “For more specific advice, talk to a physiotherapist. If there’s an injury get it treated, or ask for advice on getting core-building exercises and stretches for prevention.”


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letter: Allen Way rail crossing proposed in 1980

Pitt Meadows mayor at time wanted it at north Bonson.

Maple Ridge group gives back to northern places

Teaching how to grow in isolated First Nations reserves

Maple Ridge school hosts FIRST LEGO competition

Students build and program LEGO MINDSTORMS to find solutions to city landscape designs

Votto, Morneau want Hall of Fame recognition for Larry Walker

Larry Walker’s number will be retired on April 19 at Coors Field

Slideshow: Maple Ridge’s winter wonderland waterways

PHOTOS: Water and wildlife at the Alouette River, Fraser River and Whonnock Lake

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Most Read