Stay Safe While Cleaning Up; Local Chiropractor Offers Tips For Shoveling Snow Safely
Dr. David Harnois of Harnois Chiropractic offers advise to residents.
(Editor's note: This article was first published on Jan. 14, 2011.)
Shoveling snow, particularly after a big storm, can be a dangerous activity. If precautions aren't taken, the simple act of trying to clear out your drive or walkway can result in a back injury, pulled muscle or worse.
Dr. David Harnois offers advice on how to do it safely.
“The proper procedure would be to [stretch out first],” said Harnois, of Harnois Chiropractic, 2500 Main St. "So that you don’t begin shoveling without loosening up.”
This is where many people make their first mistake.
Next, in conditions like this, where you need to shovel heavy, wet snow, try not take a whole shovel full, said Harnois.
“Only take as much as you are comfortable with.” This may involve breaking the snow up into little blocks using the shovel so that you don’t take as much at once.
“When you are actually shoveling, it would be best if you (do not) pick up a load with the shovel and then throw the snow by twisting,” said Harnois. “You should always pick the snow (up directly) and then throw the snow out in front of you.”
Harnois cautions against ‘reaching’ while doing this, however.
“Try to keep the shovel close to you,” he said.
If there is a lot of snow coming, “one of the best things would be to get out and shovel frequently,” said Harnois, “so that you’re not shoveling the entire storm at one time.
"If you can, use a shovel where you can just push the snow, a few inches at a time. ... That certainly (puts) a lot less pressure on your back than lifting, especially when the snow is heavy and wet.”