Why Do I Have Poor Posture & How Can I Fix It?

Why Do I Have Poor Posture & How Can I Fix It?

Why Do I Have Poor Posture & How Can I Fix It

Do you catch yourself slouching frequently?

Do those last couple hours of the school or workday leave you hunched over and ready to leave? If you or your child are at a desk for extended periods of the day, it is important to make sure your posture is okay. In our era of virtual learning, teaching, and working from home we are constantly on smart phones, tablets, and computers. We often put our necks and backs in positions of prolonged stress. Over time, this contributes to increased stress to our vertebrae, discs and muscles supporting the spine. If you are experiencing aches and pains, especially in your neck or back, numbness into the arms or legs, or stiffness getting up from the chair, poor posture is to blame. Fortunately, posture can be improved with the help of physical therapy. Contact Panetta Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can improve your posture and lead a pain-free, active life! How did my posture become poor? Posture changes occur over time and most people don’t pay attention to them until they notice aches and pains. Often, we become so wrapped up in whatever tasks we are doing that we forget to think about the way our bodies are positioned.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “posture is the alignment and positioning of the body in relation to gravity, center is designed to align perfectly, to allow for proper movement of the muscles, breathing, and blood circulation. If poor posture continues, it can eventually lead to chronic conditions as you age.
But I exercise – shouldn’t this help? Even if you exercise regularly, it is possible that there are still a few weak muscles contributing to your posture that you may not even realize. Improper posture isn’t due to laziness or apathy; rather, it has something to do with a physical weakness within our bodies. We slouch and slump when we feel drained because our bodies (quite literally) get tired of holding us up. Poor posture leads to; Excessive strain on your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It also weakens many of the core muscles that are needed to keep you upright and healthy. How children hold their bodies can impact their growth, development, confidence, and mood. Healthy Posture Can; Prevent muscle soreness and back pain. Prevent abnormal bone growth. Help Improve breathing. Increase energy. Increase Concentration, and Boost Confidence, General tips. Keep your muscles loose by taking breaks every 30- 45 minutes. Do not use the computer while on the couch or in bed. Give children praise when their posture is good. Taking even a small amount of time to stand up & do our “posture corrective” exercises can highly improve your posture. Click on the link to see the top 3 suggested break time exercises for a quick full body reset & super charge! Proper Ergonomic Setup. Make sure that you are at a proper height with your desk chair and computer, so you don’t have to slouch or lean forward. Child sized furniture may make it easier for your child to have good posture. Adjust the monitor so it is at eye level and place the keyboard close to your body. Sit upright, place your feet flat on the floor, and try not to cross your legs. Make sure there is a small gap between the back of your knees and the chair. Having a chair with strong back support and padding is also recommended for making your upright position more comfortable. These simple steps can help tremendously with your overall posture. If you have tried these suggestions, and still experience neck or back pain, radiating pain into your arms or legs, or pain and stiffness of HELP.

What Can Physical Therapy Do For Me?

Physical therapy is a great way to regain normal posture. Our physical therapists are experts in movement, and they are great resources to have when trying to achieve your physical performance goals. They will aid you in the improvement of your balance, stability, flexibility, and mobility, all of which will positively affect your posture.

At your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will perform functional testing in order to identify which weakened areas of your body are causing your back pain. Afterward, they will create a customized treatment plan, tailored to your specific needs. This will all focus on improving your posture, increasing strength, and (most importantly) relieving pain. Treatment plans typically include manual therapy and targeted exercises to alleviate pain and regain proper function. In fact, in a study published by the National Institutes of Health, exercise for postural improvement was proven to be successful, both in enhancing posture and improving pain among patients. Titled, “Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain,” this study followed 88 patients through their exercise program.

By simply incorporating 20 exercise sessions into their daily schedule 3 times a week for 8 weeks, these patients reported: “lower [pain levels] after the exercise program than before the program, and significant differences in pain levels were noted in the shoulders, middle back, and lower back.” Results also concluded significant improvement in posture, especially during sedentary work

 

How can I get started? If you are experiencing back pain, your posture may be to blame. Fortunately, Panetta Physical Therapy is ready to help you begin your journey toward long-lasting pain relief. Find out for yourself why physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to address your posture issues and corresponding back pain, so you can start on the road to recovery. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation, and figure out how physical therapy can help make you “posture perfect!”

Excercise essentials slouching

Exercise Essentials

Reset And Supercharge Your Posture While Working From Home

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Open your smart phone to the camera app
2. Center the QR code above in the frame (this will take you directly to our Youtube Page)
3. Enjoy the exercises!

Staff Spotlight

Karen graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy in 1990. By the time Karen was in high school she knew that she wanted to be a Physical Therapist. As a gymnast, she became fascinated with human movement and her interest and passion for helping people retrain their bodies to move better was born. For 30 years, Karen has assisted patient’s to help improve their mobility and to help them get back to doing what they love. As Chief Operating Officer of Panetta Physical Therapy she is responsible for patient care, supervision of clinical staff, training and maintaining quality of care. She continues her education in the areas of manual therapy and functional/ sports rehabilitation and recently became a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist. In addition to patient care, Karen is highly trained in Electrodiagnostic Testing (NCV/EMG testing) and musculoskeletal Ultrasound imaging (MSKUS). She enjoys utilizing these skills, on and off site, to help establish the correct diagnosis, leading to the most effective treatment approach for the patient. She earned her board certification in Clinical Electrophysiology from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2016.

KAREN ECKARDT, PT, ECS, COMT PHYSICAL THERAPIST, COO, & QUALITY ASSURANCE DIRECTOR

Learn more about Infrared Light Therapy by clicking on the link
below, or scanning the QR Code:
https://www.anodynetherapy.com/what-is-anodyne.

What are our patients are saying forever lose your deductible

What Are our Patients saying

The therapy allowed more movement and I regained mobility and strength!

“I was in pain when I first came to Panetta. The therapy allowed more movement and I regained mobility and strength. After fifteen visits, I can reach higher than before and have much less pain.” – Thomas G.

Healthy Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

INGREDIENTS
• 4 lb. spaghetti squash
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 1 c. half and half
• 3 tbsp. butter
• 1 c. Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Scoop out and discard seeds from spaghetti squash halves. Prick outsides all over with a sharp knife; season insides with
1/4 teaspoon with each salt and pepper. Microwave, cut sides down, on a large microwave-safe plate on high 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat half-and-half and butter to simmering on medium-low; simmer 5 minutes, or until reduced slightly, then whisk in finely grated Parmesan cheese. With a fork, scrape the flesh of each squash half to separate into strands, leaving a 1/2-inch border on sides; divide sauce among halves and top each with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly and browned in spots. Optional: Serve with a green salad.
Source: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/recipes/a33054/spaghetti-squash-alfredo-recipe-ghk1114/

Healthy Recipe Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
free workshop

FREE WORK SHOPS
Learn to Manage Pain Without Medications, Injections, or Surgery! Panetta PT workshops are free, hour-long seminars, hosted in our Ronkonkoma office twice a month. Use the camera app on your smartphone to scan the QR code below and see all of our upcoming workshops:

qr 9

WWW.PANETTAPT.COM

Act Now Or Forever Lose Your Deductible

Act Now Or Forever Lose Your Deductible

Act Now Or Forever Lose Your Deductible

The end of 2020 is fast approaching. In the health insurance world, that means it’s almost time for deductibles to renew. Your deductible is the amount of money that you must pay out-of-pocket for treatment before your insurance pays for your medical services.
Panetta PT has a few questions for you…
• Did you have an expensive surgery this year?
• Are you on a family insurance plan?
• Have you had to use your insurance more than expected this year, possibly as a result of COVID-19?
• Feeling aches and pains?
• Need to get back into shape? If you answered yes to any of these questions, guess what? You are much more likely to have a $0 balance remaining on your out-of-pocket expenses. This is great news for you because it means the cost of physical therapy could be minimal or completely covered by your insurance plan. If you have unused funds on your HSA account, have met your insurance deductible, or are close to having met your insurance deductible for the year, NOW is the time to come in to Panetta PT for physical therapy! Let us help you get a head start going into 2021, before your deductible renews again. It’s time to get up, get moving, and get back into shape. Our physical therapists are eager to see you and help you get back to feeling your absolute best! We provide proven results when it comes to helping our patients achieve their fitness goals. Get back to enjoying your life, free of aches and pains. Usually, you do not need a PT prescription to get started. If you’ve met your annual deductible, don’t waste any more time. Call Panetta PT today to schedule your appointment, and let one of our skilled physical therapists get you into the best shape possible for 2021!

Tips To Maintain Your Diet During The Holidays

Are You Struggling With Your Diet This Season? Tis the season to be jolly… but for many who have struggled with weight loss the holidays can put a damper on the most wonderful time of the year. Surrounded by traditional favorites, baked breads, rich desserts and decadent cocktails, one can almost visualize the numbers on the scale heading in the wrong direction. Fear not and RSVP yes to your festive engagements by arming yourself with these helpful tips:

Eat before you go. As silly, as this may sound, the best way to arrive at your function and be able to pass on high calorie and high-fat hors d’oeuvres is to not be plagued with hunger pangs. In addition, you will be able to make healthier food choices placing more emphasis on salads, protein and vegetables.

Avoid high sugar spirits like daiquiris, coladas and margaritas. With just two of these types of cocktails, you could consume half of your days’ worth of calories. Instead, choose light beer, red wines like pinot noir or chianti, white wines like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc or mixed vodka club drinks with a splash of juice. Since alcohol dehydrates the body which can lead to extra snacking, be sure to drink plenty of water in between.

You can’t have your fruitcake and eat it too. Holiday desserts can be rich in sugar , fat and calories which can really pack on the pounds especially if coupled with a high carbohydrate dinner. Try chewing on gum or sipping on a flavored herb tea to help squelch the desire to sample a little bit of everything. But if you must indulge, choose a reasonable portion of one of your favorites or two half portion sized desserts.

• Calories in, calories out. If you are going to indulge you must exercise. Exercising an hour a day, or 30 minutes at high intensity, 5 times a week will help keep your clothes fitting nicely.

TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR DIET DURING THE HOLIDAYS

• 80/20 rule. Stick with a low carbohydrate diet throughout the season with plenty of protein, vegetables and healthy fats. No need to add any extra rice, pasta, cereal or bread to breakfast and lunch meals. This will allow you to partake in some decadent foods a few times a week without adding the average 5-7 pounds of holiday weight gain.

Exercise Essentials

TRY THIS SIMPLE BACK EXERCISE AT HOME

SWAN DIVE
Lay on stomach with your arms overhead. Press your chest upwards, keeping the muscles in your trunk and legs relaxed. Repeat 6 times.

November Is Diabetes Awareness Month!

To show our support we wanted to spread awareness by telling you how we can help treat a condition common among diabetics. Over 3 million new cases of peripheral neuropathy are diagnosed each year in the United States. The cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is related to poor circulation. We treat this by using infrared light therapy to improve blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the nerves. Improvements in neuropathy pain and sensation typically occur gradually over weeks of regular therapy.

diabeetes awareness month

Learn more about Infrared Light Therapy by clicking on the link
below, or scanning the QR Code:
https://www.anodynetherapy.com/what-is-anodyne.

What are our patients are saying forever lose your deductible

What Are our Patients saying

The therapy allowed more movement and I regained mobility and strength!

“I was in pain when I first came to Panetta. The therapy allowed more movement and I regained mobility and strength. After fifteen visits, I can reach higher than before and have much less pain.” – Thomas G.

Healthy Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

INGREDIENTS
• 4 lb. spaghetti squash
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 1 c. half and half
• 3 tbsp. butter
• 1 c. Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Scoop out and discard seeds from spaghetti squash halves. Prick outsides all over with a sharp knife; season insides with
1/4 teaspoon with each salt and pepper. Microwave, cut sides down, on a large microwave-safe plate on high 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat half-and-half and butter to simmering on medium-low; simmer 5 minutes, or until reduced slightly, then whisk in finely grated Parmesan cheese. With a fork, scrape the flesh of each squash half to separate into strands, leaving a 1/2-inch border on sides; divide sauce among halves and top each with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly and browned in spots. Optional: Serve with a green salad.
Source: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/recipes/a33054/spaghetti-squash-alfredo-recipe-ghk1114/

Healthy Recipe Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
free workshop

FREE WORK SHOPS
Learn to Manage Pain Without Medications, Injections, or Surgery! Panetta PT workshops are free, hour-long seminars, hosted in our Ronkonkoma office twice a month. Use the camera app on your smartphone to scan the QR code below and see all of our upcoming workshops:

qr 9

WWW.PANETTAPT.COM

Are You Ready To Get Back To Your Normal Life?

Are You Ready To Get Back To Your Normal Life?

Are you ready to get back to normal life

Things are opening back up in the world – are you ready? With summer coming at us in full swing just as stay-at-home orders are starting to get lifted, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself back in the summer activities we all know and love.
From backyard BBQ games to beach activities to 4th of July excursions, we want to make sure you’re in your best shape for the summer after sitting through quarantine.

...it’s important to make sure you’re being safe
when getting back into physical activities…

It is possible that the sedentary lifestyle that many of us have experienced since being quarantined can lead to more aches, pains, and discomfort than one may think. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re being safe when getting back into physical activities, in order to avoid unwanted injuries that could take you away from the fun. Inside are some tips for getting back into normal daily activities. As always, if you have any questions or if you’d like additional information, don’t hesitate to contact Panetta Physical Therapy.

Tips For Returning To Daily Physical Activities

1. Take personal inventory. Before getting back into the full swing of your normal physical activities, it is important to take a personal inventory of your body to understand how it feels. Make sure to identify any new aches or pains that have stemmed from lack of activity, poor posture, or new quarantine activities. By working with a physical therapist, you can minimize these newfound aches and pains, so you can be successful when getting back into your physical activities this summer.


2. Baby steps at first. If you haven’t been participating in the same type of vigorous physical activity you used to be accustomed to, it is important to begin with baby steps. Start small in the beginning and build up from there. When you push your body past its current limits, you make yourself more prone to injuries because your body is not prepared for the physical demands being asked of it. A physical therapist can help identify impairments and modify your routine, so it is specific for you and your activity goals.


3. Keeping the correct form. No matter what type of physical exercise you are trying to get back into, form is a crucial part of it. Proper form could mean the difference between physical progress or injury. Your ability to safely perform any movement is reliant on great posture and proper body positioning. When living the sedentary lives that we all currently are, it is possible for your natural posture to shift a bit. A physical therapist can also help you improve your form during exercise by addressing any issues you may have while sitting, standing, twisting, bending, running, jumping, or lifting. Your physical therapist will create targeted exercises and stretches for you to improve your current form and limit the amount of impact on your joints during exercise.

4. Getting back to your weight goal. It is no secret that this quarantine will cause many of us to lose some muscle mass and put on some more weight. With help from a physical therapist, you can set up an exercise regimen that will help you shed some pounds and maintain a healthy weight, taking off the added stress

Tips For Returning To Daily Physical Activities

on your joints that may have developed during the stay-at-home orders. Your physical therapist will customize an exercise plan for your specific needs, which may include stretching, aerobic exercise, weight training, or pain relief treatments if necessary. This will help in reaching your targeted weight and decreasing pressure on vulnerable parts of your body.

Ready to get started? If you are looking for a physical therapist to help you get back into shape after quarantine, or if you’d like extra precautionary tips for returning to daily life, contact us at Panetta Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help you achieve your fitness goals after being sedentary. At Panetta Physical Therapy, we want your summer to be fun, exciting, and injury-free! Call us today to schedule a consultation or speak with one of our licensed physical therapists

Exercise Essentials

MOST COMMON CAUSES OF KNEE PAIN

Check out our YouTube channel to discover more information about knee pain!

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Open your smart phone to the camera app
2. Center the QR code above in the frame (this will take you directly to our Youtube Page)
3. Enjoy!

What Our Patients Are Saying

“When I began pt here I had a very hard time sleeping, dressing myself, and doing normal things around the house. My experience here was awesome. I am now able to do all those things I mentioned that were hard. Jenn the therapist, Kevin, and GioVanna PT Aides were all very professional. They all helped me get back to me! We all had nice conversations and support for each other during the Covid-19 pandemic. We all pulled through! Panetta physical therapy is an awesome place to get pt, and I will recommend to everyone I know. Thank you and I hope to see you all very soon.” –Tracy H.

Staff Spotlight

Steve graduated as a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University in 2014 where he was a member of the Alpha Eta Honor Society. Previous to this, he graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s in history. While attending Princeton, he was a four-year member of the Men’s Track and Field team where he specialized in the high jump. It is easy to see why Steve is passionate about helping active Long Islanders get back to doing what they love as he believes in the power of physical fitness having worked as a personal trainer as well as a physical therapist. As the head of the Fitgolf program in Roslyn, he works with amateur and professional golfers on their body mechanics and fitness with golf-specific goals aimed at improving performance on the course. Steve and his wife are kept busy at home with their fun-loving and adventurous 2-year-old son Michael, and carefree and sweet 1-year-old daughter Alice. He enjoys spending his free time with his family outdoors and loves playing golf, basketball, and swimming!

FREE WORKSHOPS
Learn to Manage Pain Without Medications,
Injections, or Surgery!

Panetta PT workshops are free, hour-long seminars, hosted in our Ronkonkoma office twice a month. Use the camera app on your smartphone to scan the QR code below and see all of our upcoming workshops:

qr 2

WWW.PANETTAPT.COM

Post-quarantine Physical Therapy Check-up

Are you ready to safely get back to the activities you love?
Give us a call to schedule your free post-quarantine check-up with one of our physical therapists!

CALL OR TEXT 631-665-6040!

Must redeem within 2 weeks. Limit 1 per person.

Is back pain slowing you down?

Is Back Pain Slowing you down?

Back pain can hinder your day-to-day activities. Left untreated, it can even lead to long-term joint, spine and nerve damage. As one of the most common physical complaints, over 80 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from it at some point in their lifetime.
The pain itself can hinder your ability to reach, lean, kneel, lift or bend. It can also hinder your time spent with friends and family.

Direct pain aside, minor aches and cramps associated with a back pain problem can make you irritable—ruining your good time.

As one of the most common physical complaints, over 80 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from it at some point in their lifetime.

What Causes Back Pain?
A few things cause back pain. The American Physical Therapy Association covers each of these, but the following are leading causes:
• Spinal and core muscle weaknesses
• Bad posture
• Spinal muscle and tissue damage
• Improper lifting form
• Limited hip, spine & thigh muscle flexibility
• Bad abdominal, pelvic and back muscle coordination

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seek treatment when back pain arises. Before they know it, they have a big problem. They might assume nothing—except for medication—can solve their back pain problem. Medication might mask the pain, but it won’t cure the problem’s root cause.

Back Pain Solutions. You’re in luck: Back pain can be cured! The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke covers a number of back pain remedies. These include the use of strength exercise, physical therapy and medication. Where medication is considered, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesic medications and counter-irritants are the most popular.

Before you can treat your back pain, however, you need to know why it started. Whether you’ve tweaked a muscle or have a deeper injury, a spine specialist can help

TIPS TO PREVENT BACK PAIN

A little prevention goes a long way. If you want to avoid future back pain,
you can make sure you’re being good to your back.

• LIFT PROPERLY. You pick things up constantly. Even if you’re lifting something right, make sure you’re facing the object. Squat, keeping your spine straight. Lift with your leg muscles, as this will reduce the pressure placed on your spine.

• USE GOOD POSTURE. When you’re standing, imagine a string is attached to the top of your head—lifting you up. This will keep your hips, spine, shoulders and neck aligned. If you’re sitting, don’t slouch.

• USE STRENGTH TRAINING. Your body has hundreds of muscles. These muscles protect and control your spine. By lifting weights, running and swimming, you can keep them strong. Train your core muscles. In doing so, you’ll easily control quick, lifting movements. It never hurts to visit a physical therapist, either. Get regular check-ups, and make sure your body is in good condition. If you have a history of back injuries, pain or minor aches, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional. You deserve a pain-free life, and your back will thank you!

“ I attended a knee workshop held here at Panetta about 2 months ago, as I was experiencing severe pain in my left knee which was radiating down the legs, literally making it impossible to sleep (worst with laying down). I loved what I heard at the workshop and began therapy almost immediately in December. I worked with Dr. Ilicia Manzi, who is not only a wonderful therapist, but also an absolutely delightful person, constantly encouraging her patients and giving them the tools and home exercises they need to retain the progress achieved in therapy in less than 2 months. I am completely pain free most of the time and if I experience pain, I do my exercises and am soon experiencing relief. Panetta is a wonderful place and in fact, all of the staff are so welcoming and friendly. I am always greeted with caring smiles at the front desk and treatment follows suit! Thank you!” – B.M

CHRISTINA PANETTA,
PT, CEO & FOUNDER
Christina graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy in 1985. During hertour at the Rehabilitation Center, Christina worked closely with patients that were recovering from extreme physical injuries; these injuries include patients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputees and burn victims. Christina
eventually went on to open her own Physical Therapy clinic, and never strayed from her calling to help those in need.

After the 2011 earthquake in Haiti, Christina felt compelled to help those that were injured, and went to assist distraught families at the state hospital in Port Au Prince. She went
to Richard Johnson, PT, EdD, Chairperson, Department of Physical Therapy and through his strong leadership and the stellar reputation of Stony Brook University a successful
collaboration between Christina, Stony Brook University and UNIFA ensued. On October 6, 2014 the first University Program in Physical Therapy opened in Haiti. Christina lives in Oakdale, NY with her husband Richard Panetta; Mana and Wolf continue to reside in the Panetta household. Wolf is 10 years old.

Fun Fact: Christina is an avid runner and finds that running daily keeps her feeling young. She also strongly believes that no one should ever tell you to stop doing what you love because of your age.

EXERCISE ESSENTIALS
A SAFE EXERCISE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN

Supported Bridge
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Place your feet close enough so they can be touched by the fingertips. Inhale and lift the hips, place a block under the sacrum. Keep the chest open. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 6-10 times. Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you
are unsure of doing.

Exercises copyright of

Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you
are unsure of doing.

WORK SHOPS
Theses workshops are for people suffering with neck and shoulder pain who are looking to feel normal again and heal naturally without medications, injections and surgery. Don’t delay! Register today! Use the camera app on your smartphone to register and see the next workshop at the location nearest you:


Don’t delay! Register today! Use the camera
app on your smartphone to register and see
the next workshop at the location nearest you:

qr1

RONKONKOMA CLINIC
Knee Pain Workshop • April 7th

qr2

RONKONKOMA CLINIC
Rotator Cuff Workshop • March 24th

COMPLIMENTARY SIX MONTH CHECK-UP

Panetta PT now offers complimentary six-month check-up for all patients who successfully complete their plan of care!
We will check:

Pelvic symmetry
• Range of motion
• Strength
• Balance

Call your favorite Patient Care Coordinator to book your appointment!

How To Treat Back Injuries This Winter Season

Winter is upon us which means endless darkness, cold mornings and lots of snow. New York is unforgiving in it’s winter weather and we are the unfortunate victims. When we get a snow storm, it means that a person is left to deal with the icy aftermath, which generally involves shoveling heavy, wet snow. Unfortunately, our bodies are the ones that end up paying the price.

But why is it that we experience so many injuries doing this one specific task? Well think of this:

An article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine made an important note that snow shoveling is generally not a year-round activity, and snowfall levels are unpredictable; therefore, it is difficult to prepare physically for snow shoveling. The cardiovascular demands of snow shoveling are increased by the freezing temperatures. Also, the design of most shovels are not meant to be ergonomic but instead efficient. This means that shovels often have heavy, metal buckets and short, straight handles. 

So how should you protect your back this winter?

  • Stretch before you head outside to shovel.
  • Purchase a shovel with a curved handle that isn’t too short, making you hunch over or too long leaving more weight at the end. Also, make sure the bucket is lightweight and plastic. 
  • Scoop smaller loads of snow, and push the snow when possible.
  • Bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than with your spine or waist.
  • Take frequent breaks and warm up inside. 
  • If you already have back problems, get a friend or a professional to shovel for you. 
  • Wear shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls.
  • During the actual lifting portion of shoveling, engage your core.
    • ie: tighten your abs but don’t hold your breath