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Lower Back Pain Due to Shoveling Snow

Hello everyone,

Well, the snow has fallen and patients are beginning to come in with lower back pain due to shoveling snow. This is very common and can be very painful. Sometimes patients are even surprised that their lower back is bothering them because all they did was shovel the snow. The problem is the movement that we use when we shovel snow and the fact that it is repetitive. When we shovel snow, we not only bend over forward and lift the shovel with heavy snow, but then we also twist and attempt to throw the snow. It is the bending and twisting motion, and the fact that we repeat this motion over and over again that causes strong Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) pain. Please click on the sacroiliac joint page under Treatment on the website. It will go over the common symptoms, treatment plans, and treatment frequency and duration for SI jt pain. One easy way to manage the pain that can occur is simply to ice it for about 10 minutes. It is also a good idea to ice after an intense shoveling session even if you are not feeling all that bad, or especially if you are a little stiff or maybe a little sore with stiffness. Please read the newsletter titled “why I feel worse in the morning” to find out why you feel worse the next day even if you didn’t feel all that bad after shoveling.

Another way to keep from having a sore back after shoveling is to keep from rushing, which we all tend to do. Me for instance, I try to get the drive shoveled before work and the kids get on the bus and am usually in a rush, leading to fatiguing the back muscles and putting the lower back at a disadvantage. Or don’t shovel it all at once, shovel is each time it reaching an inch or two so you can simply push the shovel and snow back and forth across the drive, instead of lifting and throwing the snow.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Dr. Mckim

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