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Avoiding Back Injuries In The Snow

With the recent winter's blast fresh in mind, a word about how to avoid back injuries in the snow and ice seems quite timely. Besides the possibility of slipping and, as a result, "torquing" your back, you also can hurt your back when shoveling snow or scraping heavy ice. These activities can place you in an awkward position: bending forward, twisting and lifting and this combination can cause injury.

The most common kinds of injuries associated with this activity are back strain, where the muscles are injured, and disc protrusion or herniation (commonly known as a slipped disc). Injury would be more prominent in people ages 30 to 50 because, as people age, there are more degenerative changes in the spine and this group as a whole tends to overwork their backs.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with 'old man winter':
  • Try to lift while keeping the back straight or a bit arched, and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Use a "back-saver" shovel with a handle that curves up and back. The scoop is lower and you don't have to bend as far.
  • Stop frequently and stand up straight, bend backwards or just walk around to change your back position.
  • Avoid twisting your back. As you unload the shovel, move one foot in the direction that you will throw the snow. This keeps your back straight.
  • Pick up small loads of snow each time.
If an injury does occur and you're not feeling well within 36 hours, consult your physician. After all, you don't want to miss the sled riding after the hard work is done!

Therapy Services Associates
Hours: Monday - Friday :: 8am - 5pm
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Two Offices
Google+ Link Hobbs
2700 N Grimes
Hobbs, NM 88240
(575) 392-4129
FAX (575) 392-3835

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Located inside Nor Lea Hospital
1600 N Main
Lovington, NM 88260
(575) 396-5227
FAX (575) 396-7193

We serve Lea and Eddy Counties in New Mexico, as well as Yoakum and Gaines Counties in West Texas.