How to dig out from the snow -- safely
Still digging out from last night's nasty storm? We are too. My husband recently came in complaining that the storm dumped plenty of that wet, heavy kind of snow that makes shoveling safely extra challenging.
· Lift smaller loads of snow, bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than with your back.
· Use a shovel with a handle that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short handle will cause you to bend more to lift the load. A long one makes the load heavier.
· Avoid twisting as much as possible. The spine can't tolerate twisting as well as it can other movements.
· Step in the direction that you're throwing snow to prevent low back twisting. This will help avoid the “next-day back fatigue."
· Take breaks. Stand up straight and walk around every so often. Standing backbends help reverse all that forward bending that occurs while shoveling. To do this, stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips and bend backward slightly for a few seconds.
Also, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more tips on preventing shoveling injuries.
Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor