Preventing snow-related injuries

  • Charles Krupa  Charles Krupa

Published: 11/19/2018 5:34:39 PM


Preventing snow-related injuries

Snow has arrived and so have a host of snow-related injuries seen in emergency departments throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Each year, people are treated in hospitals and other medical offices for injuries that occur while shoveling wet, heavy snow or chopping ice, according to Dr. Joseph Schmidt, vice chair of Baystate Medical Center’s Springfield emergency department.

“The tremendous upper-body exertion required for shoveling heavy snow, combined with cold temperatures, can set the stage for a heart attack while clearing your driveway or sidewalk,” Schmidt said.

He noted that signs and symptoms of a heart attack include pressure or pain in the chest, arms or neck, nausea, lightheadedness, sweating or feeling clammy and unusual fatigue.

Even for those in good health, learning the proper techniques for shoveling snow can help prevent injuries.

“Take time to stretch your lower back muscles with some gentle exercises before shoveling and consider walking for a few minutes or marching in place,” he said.

Following are a few tips to prevent injuries while shoveling:

■Lift smaller loads of snow.

■Bend your knees and lift with your legs.

■Use a shovel with a handle that lets you keep your back straight while lifting.

■Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the lower back from twisting.

■Push the snow away instead of lifting it.

■Take frequent breaks.

 – Compiled by Andy Castillo. Send items of interest to

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