At Manalapan Spine Care and Rehabilitation, prevention is essential, especially with the fall season upon us and the winter season approaching. Many of our patients enjoy outdoor sports and hobbies, or find themselves dealing with cold weather responsibilities. Unfortunately, snow, ice, wet leaves and frigid temperatures can be challenging. In an effort to promote safety, we have created 5 tips to help prevent fall and winter injuries. Of course, remember to have a “tune-up” at Manalapan Spine Care and Rehabilitation, to ensure that your body is able to handle these activities, along with receiving recommendations for proper body mechanics.
1. PREP YOU BODY: Before going outside, you should prepare your body by providing it with nutritional fuel and hydration needed to perform optimally. When involved with strenuous activities - such as running, snowboarding, skating, skiing or shoveling snow, it is vital to warm up and cool down muscles. If you are beginning a new sport or activity, you may want to consider taking a few lessons and learning relevant tips.
2. DRESS THE PART: Wear slip resistant boots (good tread) when shoveling to help prevent falling in snow, use traction devices (cleats) when running on snow/ice, wear several layers of lighter clothing to keep muscles warm and flexible, along with a hat and/or face mask, and protect any uncovered skin with a water and windproof cream or jelly. Depending on the activity, waterproof outerwear, googles, wrist and/or ankle guards, and/or a helmet may be advised.
3. INFORM OTHERS: If you will be enjoying outdoor sports or activities, take a friend or family member, or tell a neighbor. If going alone, it is important to inform others of your activity. Place your cell phone in a waterproof or zippered plastic bag and keep it in a secure place on you, just in case of an emergency, such as a slip and fall accident.
4. SHOVELING SNOW: Reduce or Prevent Snow Shoveling Injuries
Listen to the weather forecast, so you know when to begin shoveling and how much snow to expect.
As with all activities, having the right tools are important. Therefore, an ergonomically designed shovel is a great investment! Look for one with an adjustable or curved handle (to minimize bending or arching) and a lightweight blade.
Remember, do not lift too much or for too long. You do not want to become fatigued and injured, which may lead to falling in snow.
Strong core muscles and proper posture are a plus! A back brace or belt may help maintain proper posture.
Place ice melt in the areas where you will be shoveling snow, including walkways and steps to help prevent a slip and fall.
Stretch/warm up and dress appropriately.
Place one hand on the handle and the other closer to the blade (about 12” - 18” apart).
Feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders and hips should face the load.
Keep knees slightly bent and back straight. Let your legs, core muscles, gluts and arms do the work, not your back muscles.
Keep the shovel close to your body when loading and unloading snow.
Try to push the snow straight ahead, instead of lifting and throwing it over your shoulder.
Maintain your form, pace yourself and take frequent breaks - every 15 minutes and stretch.
When done, cool down and stretch.
If you do become injured, have chest pain, experience shortness of breath or perspire excessively - STOP and seek immediate medical attention. PLEASE listen to your body.
Of course, other options include purchasing a snow blower, hiring a service or asking a friend, neighbor or family member for help.
5. MINIMIZE THE RISK OF A FALL DOWN ACCIDENT: Always take your time, look around at your surroundings and take slow small steps to help prevent a fall down accident. Avoid changing directions quickly. When walking in slippery conditions, try to keep your hands out of your pockets and free from carrying objects, so they are available to help you balance, should you start to slip and fall. If handrails are available - use them. If you feel yourself falling, try not to fight the fall. Do not tense up. Try to have your body roll naturally (arms and knees slightly bent), keeping your head in the direction of the roll. You can tuck your chin down and lower your head. If possible, land on your side.
Stay healthy and well-adjusted. Improve your balance, strengthen your core muscles and boost your immune system with our Chiropractic, Physical Therapy and Medical Team. Let us help you reduce the chance of a fall down accident and help you prevent snow shoveling injuries this year. Call 732-972-5900 and schedule a Free Consultation.