7 Tips to Stay Healthy And Avoid Pain While Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow can be dangerous with potential falls, slips, shoulder and back injuries. Follow these seven tips from the experts at Penn Therapy & Fitness to help safely get the job done and avoid pain.

Talk to your doctor before shoveling snow

If you have heart or lung problems, check with your physician before shoveling.

If you experience shortness of breath, dizziness or chest, arm pain/pressure, stop and follow up with your doctor and/or call 911.

Warm Up

Shoveling is strenuous, so prepare like you would for any exercise.

March in place, do 10 backward shoulder rolls (gently roll shoulders up, back and forward) and stretch up to the ceiling a few times.

Good ergonomics can prevent back and shoulder pain

When shoveling snow, good ergonomic form and posture is key. The techniques below will help prevent injuries from lifting, twisting and/or overreaching.

  • Keep your spine straight by imagining a line between your head and hips. Hold your head up and contract your abdominal muscles.
  • Keep your body square toward the snow you lift, and keep your scoops light.
  • Keep the full shovel close to your body, with one hand close to the blade and the other on the handle.
  • Avoid twisting your back while moving snow. Pivot your body or walk to deposit the load of snow rather than reaching or twisting.

Listen to your body

Most importantly, remember that pain is the body’s alarm system, alerting you to damage.

Never work through pain, as it will magnify the injury and increase its likelihood of becoming chronic. Wait until your pain subsides or ask others for help.


If you are experiencing aches and pains from shoveling snow or other winter-related activities, call 877-969-7342 request an appointment online.