Shovel much? How to help an aching back
York County chiropractor offers tips to alleviate post-shoveling pain.
Laura Sandmann was outside shoveling the snow in her York city backyard for about 30 minutes Saturday when she first felt the pain. Then it started spreading throughout her whole back.
"I love to shovel, actually," said Sandmann, 34.
When she was younger, she would make clubs and rooms out of the snow.
"I was going to build some of them with my girls when it started," she said of her back pain.
Soon the soreness became unbearable. By Tuesday, Sandmann said, she'd been suffering from the pain for four days, and was barely able to move.
"I could feel the lower third of my back tighten and it got stiffer," Sandmann said.
Since Friday evening, people across the midstate have been seen attempting to control the amount of snow landing on their sidewalks and driveways. And all that shoveling — especially when it's moving 30-plus inches of snow — can often lead to back pain.
Still looking for some relief? Here are some tips that could help ease the soreness.
You're not alone
Sigafoose & Jackson Chiropractic on East Market Street in Springettsbury Township saw a few new and familiar faces this week, said employee Adriannah Stisak. However, the increase is "pretty normal for this time of year."
It takes time
Still, recovering from shoveling can take a few days, especially when individuals are not used to working those muscles, said Dr. Selina Sigafoose-Jackson, who co-owns the practice with her husband, Dr. Kevin Jackson.
The most important part of recovery? Don't stress. Be patient with your body.
Know when to call the doctor
If pain persists after about five to seven days, then it's time to call your family doctor or chiropractor.
Grab some ice and rest
"Use ice because it is irritated, but many will find that using medication only masks (injuries) instead of treating," Sigafoose-Jackson said.
Instead, Sigafoose-Jackson suggested resting in the following position:
- Lie with your back on the seat of your couch or a chair.
- Prop your legs against the back of the furniture, with your body forming an L-shape.
- Put an ice pack under your lower back or under the middle of your back, or other affected area, for at least 10-15 minutes. Resting this way takes pressure off the discs in your back, and the ice penetrates the muscles that need to be repaired.
Sigafoose-Jackson also stressed the importance of constant hydration.
"Drink a lot of water to hydrate discs, ligaments and muscles -- hydration brings suppleness to help all tissues work better for you."
So rest up, drink up and feel the pain slowly melt away.
(Photos: Kate Penn, York Daily Record)