January has come again, and this time of year often brings frigid temperatures and a healthy amount of snow. Whether you shovel or snow blow, the process of clearing snow is not an easy task, and you are often left feeling like you have done a full workout. Back pain is a common side effect caused by shoveling snow, and when winter lasts as long as it can here in Canada, it is important to know how you can get help.


Effects of Shoveling On Your Back

For what seems like a simple task, shoveling actually places a lot of stress on the body. First and foremost, you are lifting a lot of weight with your shovel. Six inches of snow covering a standard double driveway can carry a weight of up to 1,500 pounds! A single shovel load can weigh up to 25 pounds, which is a lot of weight being moved and a lot of stress on your back. Repeated movements and twisting your body can cause pain as well, not to mention the added strain caused by extreme temperatures. Essentially, shoveling snow is a very common cause of back pain. But you have to shovel, so what can you do to ease your back pain?


The Solution: Pick for Yourself!

Well, the good news is that you have options! 


  1. Exercise is one great way to combat back pain. From strength training to yoga, the options are limitless. Dr. Marc Bijman, Doctor of Chiropractic, discussed with us the benefits of exercise and how it can combat back pain. 


“Although there are numerous types of exercise that are meant to strengthen your core and prevent further back pain, it is so much more important to be consistent with getting physical exercise in than specific exercises that are only done once or twice and then forgotten about after. For most people, they don’t get enough strength training in their day to day. Strengthening is the most effective, as we are building the muscle mass to maintain a healthy aging versus short term relief through stretching.”


Along with strength training, Dr. Kristie Griffiths tells us more about using yoga to heal musculo-skeletal conditions in our podcast: 


Movement is extremely helpful to managing back pain. Beyond that, there’s a level of mindfulness that comes with reducing stress - which is a huge indicator of back pain. What’s great about the yoga practice is that it combines the physical approach while also addressing the mental space that can create physical problems in the body.”


2. Complimentary Care is a combination of multiple modalities; which can include physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Physical therapies can offer an alternative to over-the-counter remedies, and provide longer-lasting relief through the use of a personalized regimen. Chiropractic care can provide huge pain relief and a wide range of benefits. 


3. Conservative care is also known as traditional care; which includes pain medications and topical treatments. These solutions may provide temporary relief, but the pain often returns after a while. The best solutions to back pain are consistent, to strengthen your back for the future.


Our blog gives some options that are out there when it comes to back pain, but this is in no way an exhaustive list. Remember that you have options when it comes to your healthcare, and the best way to find the right care is to investigate everything that is out there. 


What other solutions can you think of to solve back pain? Join our PromptHealth community, where you can share your knowledge, inter-refer, and connect with other health professionals. Start sharing your content on one universal platform, and begin building your online presence along with your holistic practice. Check it out for yourself at www.prompthealth.ca and download the PromptHealth app on iOS and Android. Share this information with your colleagues and tag @prompthealth.