Healthbeat 4: Don’t throw out your back throwing around snow

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 9:30 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Depending on where you live in Siouxland, you may have had enough snow Friday to take the snow shovel for a spin. However, you don’t want to end up in the doctor’s office with a back injury.

Tyson Allen, a physician assistant at CNOS, said common snow injuries happen to older-aged patients. Smart shoveling starts with the tool itself and your legs.

“So using an actual sturdy shovel is one of the things that helps out quite a bit. And then also lifting with your legs, not your back,” said Allen. “You just have more strength in your legs and your low back by bigger muscle groups to work with instead of just your low back a bunch of little muscle groups. So by lifting with your legs, you’re able to lift more and more efficiently.”

Allen said the common lower back injury is caused by the movement of scooping the snow and tossing it behind you, twisting your back into pain. Allen said, if you are in pain, first try anti-inflammatories and ice. If you have tingling, numbness, or significant pain, go to urgent care.

“A lot of times we can treat it with some physical therapy, that’s probably the best treatment initially. Just have one working range of motion, decreasing pain and improving the strength of that low back,” said Allen.

Allen said it is a busy time of the year in urgent care because there are a lot of people falling. He wants people to be aware of their surroundings, and make sure they have stable shoes on when going out to shovel. Plus, make sure there’s no ice hidden under the snow.

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