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Treating and Preventing Snow Shoveling Injuries

Shoveling after a snowstorm in Minnesota is more than a nuisance, it’s also a workout. After months and months away from shoveling, people can forget about the health dangers that go along with it. Making sure you properly prepare your body before going out to shovel is of the utmost importance.

The most common snow shoveling injuries are pulled muscles, lower back injuries, cuts, sprained ankles, broken bones from falling on the ice, and heart attacks. Heart-related issues offer up the most serious consequences from not preparing yourself properly before shoveling.

According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, only about 7 percent of shoveling injuries are heart-related, but all deaths due to shoveling were caused by heart problems.

Here are a few different ways you can help prevent injuries and other health problems before you go outside and attack the white stuff:

  1. Make sure you stretch. If you don’t limber up before lifting heavy weights of any kind, the likelihood of pulling a muscle increases. A simple 5-minute stretch routine can help you avoid a trip to the chiropractor.

  2. Wear slip-resistant boots. Don’t wear tennis shoes when you go out to shovel. It’s important to buy heavy-duty boots to avoid cold feet and frostbite. Avoiding a fall is even more important, which is why it’s key that you have a good footing on a slippery surface like a driveway.

  3. Take frequent breaks. If you feel your heart rate rising or start feeling fatigued in any way, stop and take a break. Even taking a short walk will help lower your heart rate within a few minutes.

  1. Push the snow instead of lifting it. Using a push shovel instead of a square one can help avoid injuries. When clearing your driveway or walkway after a heavy, wet snowfall, pushing rather than lifting is vital to avoid heart-related injuries. Lifting the snow poses less of a risk when the snow is lighter and fluffier.

  2. Don’t throw the snow over your shoulder. The twisting motion involved with throwing the snow over your shoulder may put unneeded stress on your back. You could also injure your shoulder if you maintain the same throwing motion over and over again.y feilds, 

If you haven’t shoveled in a while, you could be sore for up to 72 hours after the activity. If you feel a strain or sprain coming in, be sure to ice that muscle within 20 minutes after finishing. This can help the pain and swelling die down faster.

It’s important to be heart smart when shoveling. If you feel pain in the middle to left side of your chest, arm or jaw, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Signs of a heart attack include shortness of breath, a feeling like someone is sitting on your chest, nausea, vomiting and severe sweats. Call 911 if you are experiencing any of those symptoms.

Ehlinger Lawn Service hopes everyone is safe this winter when it comes to shoveling and snow blowing. If you own a business and would like a quote for snow removal at your building, contact us today for a free snow and ice management quote and to learn about our monthly maintenance programs.