Snow shoveling is one of the more common causes of back injuries during the winter months. However, this type of injury is preventable if you know the best ways to remove snow without straining the back.

The following snow removal tips can help you to avoid low back injuries and pain during the snowy winter season.

Pick the Right Snow Shovel

An ergonomic snow shovel can help take some of the effort out of snow removal chores.A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending, requiring you to bend your knees only slightly and arch your back very slightly while keeping the shovel blade on the ground.  A small, lightweight, plastic blade helps reduce the amount of weight that you are moving.

Warm Up Thoroughly

Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up, flexible muscles. Do your back a favor by warming up for five to ten minutes before shoveling or any strenuous activity.  Get your blood moving with a brisk walk, marching in place, or another full-body activity.  Then, stretch your low back and hamstrings (the large muscles in the back of the thigh) with some gentle stretching exercises.  Limber up your arms and shoulders with a body hug that you hold for 30 – 60 seconds.