Physical and Occupational Therapy

Keep Calm and Shovel On


5 tips to keep you safe this winter while removing the powder:

First use the proper equipment.  From the shovel you choose to the layers you wear, using the right tools for the job is a must!  An ergonomically sound bent shovel is your best choice.  The dual bar handled shovel is also another great choice to save your back.  Clothes should be layered and move from snug inner layer to looser and waterproof outer layer.  Breathable fabrics are best.  Hands, feet and head protection is necessary.  Gloves with grips, sturdy boots with good tread and a hat are all needed for optimal protection from the elements and possible accidents.

Bent handled shovel

Second always use good form.  The best way to avoid injury or serious muscle soreness later is to check your form.  Bending should occur mainly at the knees and hips not from the back.  Snow should be pushed and not scooped and lifted!  Your legs should be staggered with one foot in front of the other, and at least shoulder width apart.  Lightly pulling in on your abdominal muscles can support and stabilize your back during shoveling.


Thirdly, try to keep up with the snow.  Waiting until the storm has passed may leave you with a much heavier load and increase your risk of injury.  It’s recommended that you attempt to clear 2 inches at a time, so check your forecast and time your shoveling accordingly.

Fourth, be aware.  Being aware of your body during more vigorous activities is important and being aware of your environment is just as important.  If something is hurting stop doing it.  If your heart is beating out of your chest, take a rest break.  Stretching pre and post activity is always a good idea.  If you can’t feel your hands/toes/nose…go inside and warm up before finishing.  Knowing what is under the snow is important.  Take note of any large cracks in the sidewalk, or other obstacles that your shovel may run into or that may cause you to stumble.


And lastly, if you happen to hurt yourself…call your local physical therapist!  You can see a physical therapist without a doctors prescription with most insurances.  They specialize in treatment of sprains, strains and low back pain.  You can have an appointment in 24 hours and be back at it in no time.  Rehab Associates is currently taking patients at both their Newark and Dresden Ohio locations.  740-345-2837 for an appointment, or go online to and set up your appointment today.

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