604.739.2118 spinehealth@shaw.ca

More and more Canadians each year complain of back-related injuries and problems. And, with winter fast approaching, it is important that proper attention is given to the health of your back, to prevent and care for your injuries – such as while indulging in that great winter pastime, shovelling snow – before they become a nagging problem.

According to Health Canada, back pain is the second most common reason for visiting a medical doctor. The causes of low back pain include work-related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, sports and even stress.

But the two most common causes of back pain in the winter are snow shovelling accidents and motor vehicle accidents. With both causes being linked to the season ahead, there’s little doubt health care professionals will see an increase in these cases over the next few months.

The amount of strain you put on your back from shovelling snow is great. With an estimated shovelful of snow weighing anywhere from 5 to 7 pounds, clearing your driveway can mean removing up to a few hundred pounds of snow in just one snowfall! To help you avoid low back injuries during the snowy winter, follow these tips to get you ready:

– Check the weather forecasts: If weather reports tell us there will be several days of snowfall, shovel your sidewalk or driveway regularly. Don’t let the snow pile up!

– Use a light-weight push shovel: Metal shovels can stick to the snow making it very difficult for you to push the snow. Spraying these shovels with Teflon is an easy way to prevent sticking. Pick the right shovel!

– Always push the snow: Instead of throwing the snow, try pushing the snow to the side. This will prevent sudden twisting or bending movements that can lead to injury. Don’t throw the snow!

– Lift properly: Use your knees when bending or lifting instead of bending your back. If you bend your knees you can avoid strain to your back. Keep your back straight!

– Short breaks are good: With fatigue being a common reason for back injuries to occur, it is important to take regular breaks. Take a break!

– Seek immediate help: If your back pain is severe or is not gone after a day, see your chiropractor for help. And if you have chest pain or shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately.

Chiropractors are able to assess, diagnose and treat many disorders related to your muscles, joints, and nerves. You also don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.

Chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health profession that uses many types of treatments including manual therapy and spinal adjustments, acupuncture, nutritional counselling, orthotics, physical therapy and rehabilitation. Your chiropractor can also give you expert advice on any back-related concerns or injuries, and can prevent them from becoming a chronic problem.

A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is a regulated primary health care provider, like medical doctors, dentists and optometrists. All chiropractors have a minimum of three years of university education, plus an additional four years of intensive training at an accredited chiropractic college.