man shoveling
man shoveling

How To Make Shoveling Less Painful (Physically, At Least)

Posted on January 28, 2022 by Christina Eyers, Ed.D., AT, ATC

Whether you're happy to see that pretty snow fall or dreading the work ahead of you to clear the driveway, winter is definitely upon us. But cold-weather chores can be less painful if you remember these quick tips to alleviate pain in your back and shoulders when shoveling.

  1. Use your legs. Generally, women tend to have more leg strength, while men have more upper body and arm strength. Shoveling, however, requires you to use muscles in your whole body. Keeping your abs engaged will help you strengthen your core, while bending your knees slightly will make sure your quadriceps do the heavy lifting.
  2. Watch your posture. Remember to bend from the waist – don’t hunch. A semi-squat will prevent you from putting undue strain on your shoulders and back to avoid that nagging next-day soreness.
  3. Shorter and quicker strokes are better. Use quick, short strokes to gather the snow closest to you. Reaching too far can cause muscle pain, so keep your movements choppy, not long.
  4. Work in layers. Don’t try to tackle a whole area all at once. Remove snow in layers if need be. It helps avoid fatigue and injury caused by taking on too much at once.
  5. Alternate sides. Wet snow can feel much heavier than powder, and removing it can be an arduous process. Take periodic breaks, and don’t forget to switch sides once in a while. Your muscles will thank you for it.

And always remember to dress warmly, wear slip-resistant boots, stay hydrated – and listen to your body’s cues.

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To find an orthopedic specialist at Henry Ford, visit or call 1-800-436-7936.

Christina Eyers, Ed.D., AT, ATC, is the Director of Athletic Training & Community Outreach with Henry Ford Sports Medicine. Learn more about Christina

Categories : MoveWell

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