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TOSH: tips to avoid injury when shoveling snow

MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Hospitals across the valley have seen a serious spike in people looking for help after injuring themselves shoveling snow.
MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Hospitals across the valley have seen a serious spike in people looking for help after injuring themselves shoveling snow.

11,000 injuries a year all blamed on shoveling snow. We are all digging ourselves out from the blast of snow across the Wasatch Front, but be careful. All of that work can leave you with a pain in the neck and back!

The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) has seen an increase in people dealing with injuries resulting from their work in the snow.

Dr. Justin Hohl said, "If you feel a pop and pain down your leg, that's concerning."

Doctors at TOSH say if not done correctly, shoveling snow has the potential to be very harmful.

Physical Therapist Aaron Swalberg broke down some numbers for us. Swalberg said, "The snow shovel is about 16 pounds of snow, spread that over one minute that equals 200 pounds. Ten minute time that is 10 thousand pounds of snow."

You need to think, before you work.

Swalberg said, "You are going to injure yourself less if you push the snow, instead of lifting and throwing it."

If you do have to lift the snow, use a smaller shovel. When you are working, stand up enough so you are not leaning forward and twisting your back. And shovel diagonally, that way you won't trip on the cracks in the sidewalk.

Now that you know how to safely shovel, TOSH has a challenge for you. Sign their pledge to shovel safely and do it for those who need the help, they will give you a free shovel.

Visit TOSH to sign up and take home your goods.

If you have a pain and want to ask specific questions, call Dr. Hohl and the Intermountain Spine Institute at (801) 3142225.

More Snow Shoveling Tips from TOSH:

1) When shoveling, don't bend over to lift the shovel or twist to throw the snow. Step in the direction that you're throwing snow.

2) Shovel safely by bending legs slightly at the knees, keeping the back straight, and letting thigh muscles do most of the work.

3) When you grip the shovel, make sure your hands are at least 12 inches apart.

4) Don't pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel when you are lifting the snow.

5) Take it slow, shoveling heavy snow requires as much energy as a single tennis game!

6) Dress appropriately and in layers.

7) Be sure to remain hydrated.

Another tip from The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital is to put car wax or Pam spray on your shovel to prevent snow from getting stuck on your shovel between scoops.


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