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Keep Your Spine Safe This Winter Season

Shoveling snowLiving in Edmonton means frigid winters and plenty of powder, and that means shoveling. Before you head out to tackle the snow, dress warmly and warm up your muscles first to avoid injury.

You can think of your muscles like Silly Putty. If it’s cold when you stretch it, it breaks, and when the putty is warmed up, it stretches much easier. You want to be like a warmed up Silly Putty.

So before getting outside to shovel, do some jumping jacks or squats—something that uses multiple muscles simultaneously. Doing so increases your body temperature quicker.

Start Without Resistance

Once you’re outside, do some rotations back and forth with just the shovel—throwing it over your shoulder. Allow your spine to go through a full range of motion without resistance several times first, before you take it through a full range of motion shoveling with resistance.

When it comes time to shovel, be sure you don’t rotate so much, as that will put a lot of strain on our spine. If it’s warm, the snow will be heavier, so you want to take smaller shovels full.

Shovel in Chunks

You don’t have to shovel all at once. This is particularly the case for older patients. That’s when most people get injured if they try to do it all at once. The longer you’re doing something you don’t do regularly, the more fatigued your spinal muscles get. The more tired they get, the more likely they are to get injured. Instead, break up the task into chunks. Your back will thank you.

Walk Like a Penguin

Sure, it may look a little funny, but walking like a penguin when it’s slippery outside can help keep you from falling. With this walk, you don’t stride out too much, as it will put you in a vulnerable position to fall. While you’re less likely to fall when walking like a penguin, the downside is this type of walk tightens your pelvis and hip flexors. That’s why we recommend doing some stretches after your walk to open up the hips. These include a front lunge or a glute stretch.

Chiropractic care is one of the best ways to keep your spine limber this winter. Contact us today to book an appointment!

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