Shoveling giving you back pain? Local doctor weighs in on how to protect yourself

Local News

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Mother nature has had a busy February. And with all this snow, Western New Yorkers have been busy clearing it.

That can lead to some back pain and injury. Dr. Nicholas Jones uses the acronym ‘PREP’ to help his clients at Covell Chiropractic. First, prepare for shoveling by doing some squats to simulate the proper technique while you’re out there. Rest often, ensure you’re shoveling correctly, and stretch afterward.

So, how do you shovel correctly? Jones says to try to push the snow as much as you can, instead of lifting it. And have the correct stance. Unlike the picture below.

“For one, he’s not bending at his knee.We would want to bend at the knees there, kind of do more of a squat position. He’s also bending only a little at the hips, he’s kind of more bending his back here. He’s also twisting his shoulders, to kind of drop this one lower. We would want to take a more straight appearance.”

Afterward, try a stretch like bending over and touching your toes to elongate the muscles of the spine.

“We don’t want to stretch to feel sharp or painful. Or we don’t want to do short or too long, there’s a limit for a proper stretch. It’s about 20 to 30 seconds.”

If your back is hurting, he says sitting stagnant is one of the worst things you can do. Keep your blood flowing by moving around. If you have to be seated, there are some things you can do while at your desk.

“We tend to round forward when we get in pain, right? It’s kind of that protective pose. But one that’s a little bit better, one more beneficial would be to extend and arch your back.”

If your pain persists several days, it may be time to call your doctor, or a chiropractor.

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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