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

Just Posted

Three on ballot, two running for Union Bay Improvement District board

Voters will go to the polls to choose new board member on Saturday, Nov. 23

Comox Valley initiative collects items for those in need

Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) is a ‘Kindness Care Package Project’ that… Continue reading

Campbell River to house regional composting facility

A new regional composting facility will be built at the Campbell River… Continue reading

Ecofish founder receives provincial honour

Award was given at Generate Conference earlier this month

Comox Valley tent event a reminder of housing crisis

A Survival Drive that culminated with a tent event generated a large… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read