Every season brings unique activities that require us to perform some physical activity we may not want to do but have no choice. In the winter, shoveling snow comes to mind (at least in some parts of the country) while spring, summer, and fall may include yard clean up, mowing, and raking. All of these seasonal activities are, “…I have to..” activities of daily living (ADLs), rather than ADLs we want to do. Let’s talk about shoveling snow. Of course, if snow is not an issue based on where you live, this information can also be applied to gardening, digging a hole, or some other yard-related shoveling activity.
First, a few facts that help us appreciate why back pain is so common when we shovel: 1. When we bend over, approximately 2/3rds of our body weight is being lifted in addition to what we’re lifting. Hence, a 180 pound (~80 kg) person has to lift 120 lbs (~54 kg) of body weight every time he or she bends over. 2. A 5 lbs weight (~2.25 kg) can place 50 lbs (22.5 kg) of load on your back when it’s held in front of you at the end of a shovel! 3) Our legs are much stronger than our back and arms. If a person can bench press 300 lbs (~136 kg), they can usually leg press 500 lbs (~236 k) - almost 2x more weight. Yet, most of us use our arms, not our legs, when shoveling. 4) Most of us bend over using poor technique, lift the shovel with the arms and back (not the legs), and rapidly extend and twist the back when we throw the substance from the shovel! 5) Then, this faulty action is repeated many, many times, and on top of that, it is not something we’re used to doing and hence, we’re not physically adapted or “in shape” for shoveling. With all of these “truths,” it’s no wonder why we often can barely move after an hour of shoveling! So what can we do about it?
Hiring the neighborhood kid to do the shoveling makes the most sense but let’s say you have to do it yourself. We can’t change the fact that most of our body’s weight lies above our waist so that one we’re stuck with but, we can certainly put less on the shovel so the load on our back is less. It’s important to use your leg muscles while keeping your back as straight as possible- Do NOT bend your back! Walk the shovel load to your dumping location instead of trying to throw the load a distance by twisting your body. Take multiple breaks and switch sides so you don’t “beat up” the same muscle groups repeatedly.
If your back hurts after shoveling, use ice/rest followed by gentle stretching and modified activities – DON’T go back out and shovel. Some wise considerations for shoveling include warming up before starting, staying “in shape” by exercising throughout the year, maintaining a good nutritious diet, and getting enough sleep.
So, if you are experiencing back pain, lower back pain, or pain in the coccyx and type in pain management near me or chiropractor near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up.
You may wonder, “Do I need an MRI scan of my back and who in my area can refer me?”
Also, if you feel leg pain it may indicate things are getting worse and may indicate a bulge on the disc or worse yet a herniated disc in your back. Some people will try stretching the lower back first to see if they get relief from their back pain. Pain very low in the lower back may be originating from the coccyx or tailbone. A pulled muscle in the back generally will get better with rest. Persistent or worsening pain intensity and/or frequency necessitates a visit to see a professional around you.
Check out what the experts say about chiropractic care for back pain here:
Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at Coast Chiropractic Centers at (239) 278-3344 or stop by on your day off for a walk in visit and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.
So if you find yourself experiencing lower back pain while running or doing physical activities or if you are suffering from back pain that is affecting your quality of life and allowing you to enjoy Fort Myers Beach. Come see us at Coast Chiropractic Centers located on 7270 College Parkway.
If you would like to avoid getting back pain in the first place or to take a proactive approach to your health and wellness nearby, our membership program called Club C may be just the thing for you with great cost savings, convenience, and even more importantly, a plan to get your health back and keep it.
Don't let back pain stop you from enjoying the beautiful SWFL! Dr. Tim Harcourt is here to give you the relief you need.
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