Shoveling Snow Leads to Serious Injuries


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV) Some of you may still be trying to clear your sidewalks and driveways following our first big snow storm earlier this week.

But, did you know an estimated 11,000 people nationwide are hurt every year shoveling snow.

"When you're bending and twisting at the same time that's a recipe for disaster of the lower back," said Tyler Billings, Clinical Director, Wright Physical Therapy.

The most common complaints are back injuries, fractures and heart problems.

Tyler Billings is a doctor of physical therapy in Twin Falls.

He sees several snow shovel injuries each year.

"You see a lot of disc herniations where it bulges backwards into that nerve, so a lot of back pain," said Billings.

Billings has some recommendations that may spare you that pain.

"Keeping the shovel close to your stomach, so the shovel isn't getting extended away from you because that puts a lot of pressure on the spine. Stop short. Maybe do 25 feet, dump the snow, come back and finish the other 25 feet, rather than trying to do all 100 feet of the driveway," said Billings.

But, that's not all.

Another high injury movement comes from the way you dump the snow off the shovel.

"Keeping the curve of the spine and you come up and then you twist your whole trunk rather than one scooping trunk motion," said Billings.

As Billings shows us, you want to bend from your waist not your back.

He recommends you try this test at home.

The correct thing would be here and see how the stick stays there, I'm bending from my hips," said Billings.

You'll know if you're bending from your back if the stick rises off your body.

Wright Physical Therapy is offering cost-free screenings for injuries and correct lifting mechanics.

For more information stop by their clinic on the corner of Falls Avenue and Locust in Twin Falls.

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