How to Shovel Snow and Prevent Low Back Pain


I often see patients in my practice who developed low back pain or other issues during the winter from shoveling. Like any injury that results from repetition or a general lack of variability, this may be prevented with some easy steps.

Steps to Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling

1) maintain an upright posture

2) brace your belly while lifting (think someone is going to hit you in the stomach) and exhale

3) lunge into the snow, letting your front leg accept the weight of your body/snow

4) use a long lever arm holding the shovel high and low with both hands to maximize leverage

5) use your legs to lift the snow

6) pivot on your outside leg and lunge into the forward leg again to throw

7) switch sides/legs/throwing arm every 5 throws

8) break up the repetition with some press ups, or quadruped hip drops as in the video

9) take a break every 10 minutes

The name of the game is variability! Don’t do too much of the same thing and let your activity out do your capacity!



Via Erson Religioso at The PhysioAnswers Blog

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