Shoveling and Slipping Safety Tips from Essentia Health

How to shovel without hurting your back, avoid slipping.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- More snow on the way means more shoveling for Northlanders.

But there is potential danger when clearing snow.

Emergency rooms see plenty of patients every winter who’ve been hurt while shoveling.

While many of us don’t think twice about it, shoveling snow and even just walking on snowy sidewalks can be hazardous if you’re not careful.

Using good lifting techniques can help, like bending your knees and not twisting your body to dump snow.

But there are also things you can do to prepare even before you get the shovel out.

“Shoveling snow is a workout so if you’re not in shape to be doing that it can be a pretty taxing workout for your heart and lungs,” said Katherine Brunette, Physical Therapist and Rehab Manager at Essentia Health in Superior, Wisconsin.

“So making sure that you’re stretching and warming up, treating it like you’re going for a run.”

Slipping and falling can also be dangerous.

If you fall and are able to get up, rest a bit, then see if you need more medical attention.

“If it’s something that you’re experiencing significant pain afterwards, see your doctor, ask for a referral for therapy. The sooner you can get it taken care of the better.

“So not letting it go for a month or two then saying ‘oh, my wrist still really hurts from that fall.'”

While falling, it’s good to try and catch yourself with your arms to reduce the impact, although sometimes that can still cause arm or wrist injuries.

Cardiovascular problems like heart attacks while shoveling are also more common this time of year.

So make sure to try to push the snow as much as possible, and lift only small amounts at a time.

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