When would it end. Yes, a snow day is fun; but 7 days (and counting)? The day starts with a knock on the door, two guys with shovels ..ready to go waiting for your approval nod; which never comes since, you don’t believe in “outside” help ( I don’t need them, I use the ‘work-for-food program’; if it works all over the world it can work with my kids..) you look outside and the car is covered with snow…and yes, the driveway. The driveway is 50 feet of white top, the same 50 feet that last week you told your wife that you can not even park the car because there is not enough space, but today those 50 feet look huge, like a giant football field. So why didn’t I buy the snow blower last summer again??…oh yes; because it was too expensive/ we normally don’t have so much snow/ ..he told me that they carry this model all year long/ shoveling, well, that’s for real men.
So you put your snow boots, gloves and hat, open the garage, take the shovel and salt… you’re ready to go… two hours later you find yourself sitting on the sofa with a sore back, painful shoulders and you still ask yourself: “why didn’t I let those guys do the job?”, “what was I thinking”? (a total brain freeze). So what now? you think.. cold pack..Advil..or maybe my mother-in-law’s left over Meds ..she has some leftovers from her knee surgery.
If you ask me.. a hot shower with some basic back stretches will do the trick. 10 minutes under a warm/hot water directly on the area could go a long way, try to massage the area if possible. When you come out try to remember the basic stretches from gym 101.. sit on the floor with your legs open and try to touch your toes (a more advanced stretch is to do the same with your legs closed.. but I will keep that for another day). Go slowly …walk with your fingers from your thigh to your knee and then as far as you can reach (remember soreness is ok however, if you feel pain stop and always use common sense). Another nice stretch is a knee to chest stretch. Lay on your bed and hold your knees, then gently pull them to your chest. If while doing any of these stretches you feel some weird or maybe sharp pain going down your legs, STOP; the pain should cease. It is probably a simple hamstring tightness; however, in some cases a low back disc could be involved. If the pain continues I would recommend that you see a Chiropractor or any other medical specialist.
But let’s go one step backwards to before the injury, back to the cause….SHOVELING. Here are my two cents on shoveling: start with a basic stretch, Stretch your hamstrings, stretch your back, and stretch your shoulders (back to gym 101 class), then dress in layers that you can easily take off, have a shoveling plan, maintain proper posture: use your leg muscles as much as possible, keep your back straight as you move from one position to the other, hold the snow shovel as close to your upper body as possible with one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage. And don’t twist your upper body as you throw snow (rotation is the number one cause for back injury) to the side. And rest. The last time I checked, shoveling is not a part of the winter Olympics. Take your time. On a side note, shoveling is a very stressful activity on your muscles, especially your heart, so if you are totally out of shape, sick or just feel sluggish, just let someone else do it……and yes, I know, you definitely are buying the snow blower this summer.. or.. the next summer because we all know that we don’t have a lot of snow here….