(WFRV) – Our first snowfall of the season fell this past weekend in Northeast Wisconsin. A stark reminder for residents to have those shovels ready heading into the winter months. For the third day of Winter Weather Awareness Week, we cover how to safely shovel. Injuries while shoveling are not out of the ordinary. 

Jodi Rabas is a Chiropractor for Family First Chiropractic in Green Bay. She says, “According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, they said there is an average of 11,500 people that come in to be treated across the emergency departments across the U.S. every year and that’s only ones severe enough to go to the emergency room.” 

Chiropractors in the United States see tens of thousands of patients that don’t visit the emergency room for shoveling injuries.  Shoveling is considered a hassle in the wintertime, but it’s important to do it properly. 

Rabas emphasizes, “Make sure your spine is straight, you don’t want to be rounding or twisting, keeping your back nice and straight…sometimes remembering to pinch your shoulder back will keep you in a better posture…and then using your legs and glutes to save your lower back…these are your power muscles so use them properly.” 

Other tips revolve around switching sides with your hands to keep things balanced. Good footwear may protect against slip and falls. Treat the activity like exercise and try not to shovel directly after eating.    

Rabas added, “Just keeping everything as close to your body as possible…the further away you are…the more taxing it will be on your body…so engage your core muscles while your doing this. And you might want to find the right sized shovel…to make it easier on you.”