Winter chores and recreational activities such as shoveling snow, skiing, skating, and sledding can be all fun and games until you get hurt. Even simple things like slipping on an icy sidewalk can cause injury, muscle strains, sprains and spasms, leading to pain and stiffness.

Prevent pain and injury by taking the proper precautions before engaging in these winter activities.

  1. Shoveling
  • Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm.
  • When shoveling, push the snow straight ahead.
  • Don’t make your shovelful too heavy. You should not strain to lift it.
  • Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
  • Bend at your knees, not your waist, to lift snow in the shovel.
  • Let your leg muscles do the work, not your back.
  1. Skiing, Skating and Sledding
  • If you are skier, to warm up, do 10-15 squats with legs at shoulder width apart, and knees over your feet.
  • If you are skating, do a few shallow knee lunges, one foot at a time.
  • If you go sledding, warm up by doing some knee-to-chest stretches. You can do them laying on your back or sitting.
  1. Preventing Slips and Falls
  • Be sure to put salt down to prevent icing of stairs and walkways.
  • Wear warm, insulated, treaded shoes/boots to provide traction and prevent slips.



David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital. 

Attend a free seminar on the prevention and treatment of back and neck pain.