BEND, OR -- As Central Oregonians dig out from Wednesday's snowstorm, it’s tempting to try and get shoveling work done as quickly as possible. But, Bend Physical Therapist Barrett Ford, with Step & Spine Physical Therapy, says not so fast.
He tells KBND News shoveling should be treated just like any other physical activity. "In fact, it’s more difficult than most of the other exercises you may be doing. You’re doing a lot of bending, lifting and twisting – So, there are a lot of things that we don’t even do during our normal physical activities; we should be more prepared. So, it’s important to warm up and hydrate, because you are going out to exercise, really."
And, Ford says listen to your body, "It’s important, if you feel something, that you stop and assess, ‘do I move on here, or not?’ One thing about shoveling, for example, it’s a very bending, biased activity. And, a lot of our back and neck injuries happen because of bending, biased stuff, and lifting. So, just a simple thing you can do is actually just do the opposite: stand and actually do a few backward bends and oft times things will mellow out and go away." Ford admits - if you’re out of shape - you may not be able to avoid post-shoveling soreness. But, he says if pain lasts more than a few days, you should seek medical attention.
It’s also a common time for people to slip on slick roads and sidewalks, which can lead to serious injuries. "You’re going to see a lot of actually wrist and shoulder, elbow injuries, as you slip and fall," says Ford. "Actually, we’ve had our fair share of concussions; you’ve probably had that slip where it just goes so fast and you come back and hit your head. We get hip fractures, ankle fractures and knee injuries, obviously."