Protect Your Back While Shoveling Snow

Strain from Shoveling Heavy Snow Can Cause Back Injury

Cincinnati (February 18, 2015) – The winter weather the tri-state has experienced over the past two days has brought with it the need to shovel snow out of driveways and off sidewalks. And while that can mean a great way to boost endorphins and get some exercise, all of that strain can cause a back injury, too.

John Roberts, MD, of The Christ Hospital Physicians – Spine Surgery recommends you follow these safety tips to protect your back while shoveling snow this winter:

Get a curved handle. Snow shovels with curved handles mean that you don't have to bend as much while shoveling, taking some of the strain off of your back. Also be sure you are always bending at the knees, rather than leaning over.

Break out the measuring tape. Make sure that you are using a snow shovel that is the appropriate length. If the handle is too short, you could be bending more than necessary.

Plastic is best. The lighter the shovel the better, because there's less weight to lift. A strong, plastic shovel will be your best bet because it's both durable and light.

Consider a smaller blade, and use a wider grasp. While a smaller blade may not hold as much snow, it will prevent you from taking on too much weight. Make sure that your hands are at least a foot apart on the shovel. This increases your leverage and reduces the train on your back.

Push, don't lift. Try to push the snow out of the way as opposed to lifting and carrying, and collect small scoops rather than large ones. This can reduce the strain on your back. Beware wet and heavy snow.

Are you suffering from back pain? Call 513-585-BACK today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Roberts or one of our other spine specialists, or visit to read more about our services.
About The Christ Hospital Health Network: The Christ Hospital Health Network is a regional system of care that extends The Christ Hospital’s 125 years of exceptional care and leadership to more than 100 locations in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Network delivers integrated, individualized healthcare and wellness services through its comprehensive physician network, advanced specialty services and the region’s Most Preferred Hospital (National Research Corporation). Its mission is to improve the health of our community and create patient value by providing exceptional outcomes, affordable care and the finest experiences. To learn more about its locations and award-winning services, visit