December 1, 2022
Tis’ the season of love, peace, joy and… back pain?
The holiday season is once again upon us, bringing all our favourite festive traditions along with it. No matter how you plan to celebrate this year, there’s one unfortunate winter tradition that is likely to make an appearance in all holiday plans—the tedious and repetitive task of shoveling snow. Though the magical first snowfall is one of the most exciting parts of the winter season, it is often overshadowed by dread of the back pain brought on by snow removal.
In this article we will go over some tips and tricks on preventing and managing shoveling pains so you can enjoy your holidays to their fullest. But first, let’s identify why shoveling is so hard on the lower back.
Why is shoveling so painful?
Whether you have poor or perfect form, a traditional shovel or an ergonomic one, you can expect to experience back pain from shoveling at some point this season. Unfortunately the cold weather doesn’t help when it comes to avoiding injury.
That’s right, the cold can make pain even worse.
Cold temperatures cause blood vessels in the extremities to narrow and divert extra blood to vital areas such as the brain, heart, lungs, and bowels. This leaves less blood in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing the structures that support your back to tighten, making it easier to pinch a nerve or worsen a pre-existing condition.
Time of day is important too.
Though most don’t realize it, the time of day at which you shovel can also heighten the risk of injury. More specifically, shoveling first thing in the morning. When you lay down to sleep, the discs in your back are no longer under constant compression from being upright. This causes the discs to absorb more water and swell, often resulting in muscle stiffness or soreness at the start of the day. Next time you wake up to find your car snowbound, try warming up your muscles by stretching and moving around a bit before grabbing the shovel.
If you’re reading this article, you are most likely experiencing (or preparing for) back pain brought on by shoveling. If not given the proper attention, a simple tweak in the wrong place can turn into weeks of discomfort. To minimize your pain’s impact on holiday celebrations, the trick is to act as early as possible.
Now is the time to act! 4 steps to managing your pain.
Here are some ways you can work to reduce your pain after shoveling:
1. Take a break from shoveling
The first step is to stop shoveling. The average person with a double driveway will shovel between 1,100 and 1,500 pounds of snow after a six-inch snowfall—keep that in mind before simply persevering through your discomfort. Instead, take some time to gently stretch or massage the muscle. Even a two minute break every ten minutes can do wonders in preventing injury. Some stretches you can do to relax your back include child’s pose, cat-cow stretch and hip circles.
2. Heat/ice sore muscles
After shoveling, consider taking a hot shower or an Epsom-salt bath, followed by icing the muscles in pain. A good rule of thumb for icing muscles is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, repeat. This will constrict blood vessels to reduce inflammation and pain in tender areas.
3. Physical stimulation
Keep your body loose and limber! Try to move your body in a way that doesn’t strain the areas of pain. Even just walking around the house while gently swinging your arms can help stimulate and loosen the muscles supporting your lower back. Do this before shoveling and during your breaks. This is especially important given the lessened opportunity for physical activity in the winter, which leaves lumbar support muscles weakened and out of practice.
4. Pain therapy devices
For a more proactive approach to minimizing muscle pain, look into purchasing a pain therapy device. Modern pain relief technology allows for electrical nerve and muscle stimulation from the comfort of your home. This will reduce pain levels, improve muscle performance/blood circulation, and maximize confidence in your ability to perform day-to-day tasks. One device that is well-suited to relieve shoveling pain is our Triple Action Back Belt.
Introducing the Triple Action Back Belt
Our Triple Action Back Belt was created to be a portable method of pain relief. You can wear it whenever and wherever you need it – whether you are on the move shoveling snow, sitting down, or lying down. The Triple Action Back Belt uses TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) technology to provide gentle pulse therapy, manually contracting and relaxing back muscles. You’ll notice the muscle stimulations right away as the belt works to relieve your back and provide core support.
This holiday season, we want you to be able to focus on your loved ones, not your pain. When you purchase a DR-HO’S device, you are making a long-term investment in your own confidence and well-being. Our devices are a one-time purchase that can be used multiple times a day for years to come. With nearly 4 decades of research and experience in pain therapy, DR-HO’S products are known for their consistency and reliability, giving you more control over your pain.
The holidays shouldn’t be spent in pain.
Back pain is especially brutal in how relentlessly it affects your ability to perform simple tasks such as preparing the holiday feast, sitting through your favourite festive movie or spending quality time with your family. Whether you or a loved one are suffering from daily pain, arthritic pain or chronic pain, our products are here to help.
Take advantage of our holiday deals and give a gift (or treat yourself to one!) that will make a tangible difference in every day. Let’s make this holiday season a memorable one for celebration and relaxation!