Snow Shoveling Pain

Winter isn’t over yet and there are many places across the country buried in snow. You really need to be careful, I know that I overdid shoveling the snow a while ago and had some shoulder pain for a few week. Here are some tips.

80% of adults are estimated to have a back injury at some point in their life and with winter in full force, back injuries are even more common. Snow shoveling, slippery ice and winter sports such as sledding, skiing and snowboarding are just some of the culprits of winter back injuries. Practitioner Dr. Mark Sobor specializes in pain management and suggests the following to help alleviate back pain from winter accidents:

  • Before attempting any exercises, you must rule out that the source of your pain requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor if:
    • Pain is shooting down one or both legs, and the leg(s) feel weak
    • You cannot control normal bathroom functions
    • The pain is intractable and can’t be controlled with medication
  • In the 2-3 days following a back injury, you should rest in order to relax the muscle spasm causing your back strain.
    • Take an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen
    • Lay flat on your back on a hard surface (carpeted floor) with a pillow under your knees OR lay in a fetal position
  • Perform these exercises to ease your back pain when you are feeling better:
    • Lay flat on your back on a hard surface
    • Pull knee to the chest, one leg at a time, hold for several seconds, release
    • Repeat 5-10 times for each leg
    • If you can pull both knees to the chest at the same time without pain, perform that 5-10 times also.
  • Stretch and strengthen all muscles and joints in order to help relieve back pain.  In addition to doing exercises stretching hamstrings, neck, shoulders and spine every day, one should routinely do other low-impact exercises such as:
    • Walking
    • Pilates, which strengthens core muscles
    • Yoga
    • Swimming
    • Low impact aerobics
    • Riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical trainer
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