Snow, Snow Everywhere

Drifts outside our house after a snowstorm

I rarely shovel snow anymore; I generally leave the task to my husband, or like our city, rely on Chinooks (a weather phenomenon:  http://www.theweathernetwork.com/index.php?product=glossary&pagecontent=glossaryindex&pagecontent=chinook) to do it for me.  We also have neighborhood kids that come around and offer to shovel for $5.00.  Works for me.

Here are some tips for shoveling snow that are useful for all who shovel, chronic pain or not.  I asked my friend Patti  at http://calgaryoccupationaltherapist.ca/ to help with some tips; she contributed most of these.

  • take frequent breaks
  • use a snow blower if you can afford one
  • schedule a time for shoveling when you have time to rest following the activity
  • delegate when possible or hire someone if you can afford to
  • stretch before shoveling – warm up the muscles
  • practice pushing light amounts of snow first to warm up
  • choose the right shovel for you, i.e. choosing too a shovel that is too big may result in you having to push and lift too much snow at a time; too small a shovel will make the job take much longer
  • wear appropriate footwear that provides good grip and support – you don’t want to slip
  • use a broad grasp on the shovel with your hands shoulder width apart
  • add sand or salt to increase speed of melting or to provide extra traction
  • use your leg muscles and bend at the knees rather than mostly using your back muscles
  • avoid twisting when tossing the snow; position yourself so you toss the snow straight in front of you

My tip?  Move to a locale where you never have to shovel snow again.