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

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

Stop work order at Sooke salmon hatchery devastates volunteers

CRD steps in as some volunteers give up their efforts

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

SOOKE HISTORY: Pemberton Pool namesake remains a mystery

Historian believes it was possibly named after surveyor Joseph Despard Pemberton

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Most Read