Safe Snow Shoveling with Heather Devito

Snow Shoveling Tips: Statistics:
• 11,000 trips to the emergency room each year due to improper snow shoveling.
• Americans spend 30min – 2 hours shoveling snow

Top reason’s why people hurt their backs shoveling:
  1. Over exertion – The cold can prevent you from being able to tell that you are overheating. People can easily over heat and heart attacks are common during snow shoveling because the cold tricks us into thinking that we are not exerting the energy we are actually exerting. Heart attacks increase by 36% during the winter months. So, stay hydrated, pace yourself, and pay attention to what your body is telling you.
  2. Hunching – One of the biggest mistakes is that people hunch over and bend over using their back instead of hips to get lower to ground. This causes flexion of the lumbar vertebrae, which can lead to injury.
  3. Lifting too much – Lifting more than you can handle can also lead to injury. Add a twist to you throwing the snow off of the shovel, and this can further result in injury.

Possible consequences to shoveling improperly:

  1. Painful and expensive surgery - 10’s of thousands of dollars.
  2. Long term pain and restricted motion.
  3. Herniated disc – Where a tear in the outer ring of a disc allows the soft portion to bulge out beyond the damaged outer rings.
  4. Muscle pull (strain) – muscle fiber tears due to over stretching.
  5. Ligament sprain – ligament fiber tears due to over stretching.

Special tools we can use:
Ergonomic Snow Shovel (, $39.00), and a "Push Shovel" ( $29.00).

How to shovel snow correctly:

  1. Engage your spinal stabilizers, A.K.A. your core muscles before doing ANY activity, but especially before pushing, pulling and lifting heavy objects. You do this by tightening the abdominals and squeeze your butt muscles.
  2. Bend at the hips, knees and ankles, NOT the back. Keep your back straight.
  3. Don’t overload the shovel, lift only what you can handle. GET LOW to lift and lift with you legs.
  4. Turn your whole upper body to throw the snow from the shovel; don’t twist.