Tips to Avoid Winter-Time Injuries

by Robert B. Boyle, MPT, COO, Physical Therapist, February 10, 2016

Even though both Punxsutawney Phil and Western Maryland Murray agree that spring is right around the corner, there still may be a few snowfalls for those of us in the mountains. Just like taking precautions for an upcoming snowstorm, your body should also be prepared to battle the elements. Sadly, there are always many reports of injuries from shoveling and individuals slipping and falling on ice. To avoid strains or sprains caused by the shoveling of snow, Rehab 1st offers a few helpful hints.

It is a good idea to warm up before shoveling. This does not mean sipping your favorite coffee or cocoa or dressing in layers before you go outside (although those are nice ideas). We do suggest warming up your muscles, as you would before any work-out. Stretch or bend to get your body revved up for the lifting that awaits you. It will put your body into action mode. Also, while hot beverages are great and warm your insides, we suggest drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body.

Be sure to pace yourself. Do not be afraid to take frequent breaks to allow your body time to rest. You may also want to shovel in shifts. For instance, do your front walk first and the back walk later on that same day. The rest will rejuvenate your body and reduce constant strain on your muscles. Above all, listen to your body. If it is telling you to stop, then STOP!

It is always a good idea to lift responsibly. Often, people work to complete the shoveling task quickly so they can return to the warm inside the house. In the haste, they often lift more snow than they can handle. To avoid this strain, we recommend that you determine the proper amount of snow you can remove with each shovel and stick to that level. While lifting bigger loads will reduce your shoveling time, it could increase recuperating time (weeks, months, years) from a pulled muscle. We also suggest purchasing a shovel that is appropriate for your height, so you do not perform any strenuous stretching or twisting.

If you or a loved one have fallen or sprained your muscles this winter, consider coming in and consulting with the experts at Rehab 1st. Our trained staff can get you back in top shape after a weather-related injury. We have advanced equipment and the professional ability to work with you on restoring those hurt or pulled muscles.

Put these useful tips into practice and consider consulting with the experts at Rehab 1st for weather-related injuries. Don’t let a sprain, strain or winter-time fall ruin your spring and summer.

(Rehab 1st is a comprehensive rehabilitation center with convenient Maryland locations on the Downtown Cumberland Mall and Main Street in Frostburg. As a locally owned and operated company, Rehab 1st is dedicated to serving the tri-state area’s rehabilitation needs.)

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