9 ways to shovel snow more safely.

You’re cozy inside and looking out at beautiful glistening snow, like solid sequins covering your yard. Then your weather forecaster warns you should clear the snow from your drive or else it will freeze and become even more difficult to remove.

So you go out and start shoveling snow. It feels good. You’re on top of things and it really doesn’t take long, but it keeps coming down. So you go back out a couple hours later.

Then you wake up the next morning. Ohhhh, your lower back is killing you and it is next to impossible to simply get out of bed. What happened?!

And now, you’re wondering how to ease back pain. Okay, well, there are a few things too many of us forget.

1. You can have a heart attack in just two minutes.

Freezing temperatures make it hard for blood to get to your heart, so your blood pressure increases and so does the likelihood of a blood clot. So your heart rate can increase. Fast.

2. If you don’t exercise regularly, hire a local teen-ager.

Odds are that will be a lot less expensive than your medical bills.

3. Buy the right equipment. 

Snow weighs more than you think and in cold weather, it’s just too much! So do your homework on a small shovel with ergonomic design, electric snow shovel or snowblower.

4. Don’t put as much on your shovel as you normally do.

If you’re not working out regularly, you have no business moving hundreds of pounds of snow in cold weather.

5. Warm up before you start shoveling snow and drink lots of water.

Spend five minutes walking around your house, on your treadmill or stair master.

6. Never twist.

Push, don’t lift snow if you want to avoid injury.

7. Take frequent breaks.

Peripheral blood vessels constrict in the cold, so step inside to give your heart a break.

8. Seek medical help if necessary.

If you start feeling light headed, stop. And if you have any pain above your waist or heart palpitations, see a doctor.

9. If you hurt your lower back, toss epsom salts in your bath.

And, if necessary, one or two Ibuprofen a day for no more than a few weeks. Next time? Let little Johnny down the street earn some spending money.

Robert W. Ferguson, D.C., F.I.A.M.A., state-licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist, sees patients at 2250 W. 86th Street, Ste. 100, on the north side of Indianapolis by Le Peep restaurant. Just look for the orange sign.

Chiropractic Rehabilitation & Acupuncture now accepts Healthy Indiana Plan for chiropractic services, and most insurance for chiropractic therapy and acupuncture.

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