Snow shoveling tips to avoid a trip to the chiropractor

With all the snow Montreal has received, residents have been reaching for their shovels much more frequently.

But shoveling your driveways and sidewalks can be taxing on your body, especially on your back.

Chiropractor, Dr. Charles Caron, urges you to ask yourself if you're fit enough to do be doing it.

"A shovel full of snow can weigh up to five and seven pounds, so in order to clear a driveway or sidewalk, you might have to lift several hundred pounds," he said.

Dr. Caron said it's sometimes worth hiring someone to shovel for you to avoid injury, but for those who can bear it, he said to avoid waiting -- start shoveling as soon as it snows.

"Don't let the snow pile up," Dr. Caron said. "Frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once."

Another way to ease the demand on your body is to pick a lightweight shovel because it is easier to handle.

However, injuries, can can still easily occur if you aren't moving the right way. Twisting and bending while shoveling is likely to result in back pain or injuries. 

Dr. Caron doesn't encourage people to engage in these motions.

"You must push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, this way you'll avoid sudden twisting, turning movements," he said.

Dr. Caron said if you must absolutely lift the snow, you have to move your feet in the direction of the throw to avoid twisting.

You can also avoid shovelling-related injuries by warming-up first, as you would before other types of exercise.

"Get your joints moving, one good example would be to give yourself a hug for an upper back stretch," Dr. Caron said.

If you experience back pain after shoveling, Dr. Caron suggets applying ice for 15 minutes, every hour, until it subsides. 

Story by Alyssia Rubertucci