Published on February 20, 2018

Why shoveling snow doesn’t need to be a literal pain in the back

In winter, shoveling out from a snowstorm isn’t the exception, it’s the rule. While many grab shovels after a snowfall, too many grab their backs in pain after that activity.

“Shoveling can potentially lead to a back injury if you don’t use proper body mechanics,” says Essentia Health Physical Therapist Brett Morlock, who sees patients at the South University Avenue Clinic in Fargo. “You have heavy snow, often a short shovel, and bending over many times, creating the perfect condition for back pain.”

To ease future pains, the best thing you can do is see a physical therapist, who can customize a treatment plan specifically to help with your aches. The stronger your back, the less likely you’re an injury risk.

“I’m not saying you need to have a six-pack,” says Morlock. “But maybe doing a few stretches and going for a short walk occasionally could be really beneficial.”

You can get medical help if you’re experiencing chronic back pain. Essentia Health has an extensive Spine Rehab Exercise Program. It runs for eight weeks and the patient comes in twice a week.

“The focus is to get the patient moving better and provide them reassurance that a previous back injury does heal without requiring the need for surgical intervention,” says Essentia Health Physical Therapist Shauna Garrahy, who also patients at the South University Clinic.

For more information on the Spine Exercise Program or other physical therapy services, visit and click on “find a Service/Specialty” then, click on “Physical Therapy.”

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