With a few more centimetres of the white fluffy stuff falling yesterday and overnight, Weyburn residents are forced once again to dig themselves out of a snowfall. Shovelling isn't as much a choice as it is a chore, so you might as well do it properly.
Every winter, there are plenty of injuries across Canada that occurred while people were shovelling snow. Local chiropractor Dr. John Corrigan says he deals with a few cases every year of tweaks from shovelling-related injuries. He says there's usually one common theme for people who end up hurt while clearing snow.
"It's a physical activity so you want to warm up a little bit. A little bit of a walk or some light stretching to loosen up your back and your shoulders before you begin," Dr. Corrigan said. "Like any athlete that goes out there to play sports, they don't go straight out cold. They're going to warm up a little bit and they're going to stretch. Those are the times we see injuries."
His biggest piece of advice is to treat it like any other form of physical activity. You wouldn't go for a run or go to the gym without water, and often times shovelling can be just as strenuous. You're working a lot of different parts of your body and therefore it's easy to end up tweaking a muscle.
Dr. Corrigan has a few simple reminders that can often be overlooked by the average shoveller.
"Don't let the snow pile up. If you see in the forecast the snow is going to continue on for a day or so, get out there a few times. It's easier to move a little bit of snow than a lot," he noted. "Try to push the snow as opposed to throwing it. Push it off to the sides of the driveway. Once you get it into the piles, try to bend your knees and lift as carefully as you can, as correctly as you can."
He also added that the shovel you're using can make it much harder on yourself. A light and easy-to-push shovel are ideal and preferably plastic. Corrigan does say that if a metal shovel is being used, use Teflon or a silicon spray to make sure snow doesn't stick to it.
"There's nothing worse than having a shovel that weighs 10 pounds more than it needs to," he explained.
While hopefully today is one of the last times Weyburn residents will have to shovel, nobody is holding their breath. The forecast this week is calling for more snow by the weekend.