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Experts talk about preventing injury when shoveling snow

WSBT 22 photo

As people prepare to dig out their driveways, they need to be careful.

The heavy, wet snow maybe perfect for kids to build snowmen, but it's also a major health risk.

It's just not the roads that pose a danger in snow like this. There's also an opportunities for people shoveling to overdo it.

That's why doctors are urging people to take it easy.

It's not unusual for heavy snow storms to force people to shovel several hours a day.

Lifting heavy, wet snow puts more strain on the body and increases the risk of a heart attack.

"Lifting with your arms, using your legs to push the shovel and so one. You compensate with your heart, your cardiovascular systems,” said Dr. Blair Macphail, cardiologist.

Macphail has seen the extra workload catch up to people without realizing it. He says it's even worse for people with diabetes, hypertension, smoking as well-being up in age.

"You add up these factors and you can be at a greater risk if you have some underlying risk factors for the development of blockages in the arteries,” said Macphail.

Heart attacks aren't the only risk for you Friday. But one bad movement like this could do serious damage to your lower back.

Lifting and twisting improperly can cause pulled muscles but chiropractors fear when people herniate a disc.

"Herniated disc in our world is a more serious conditions. That's months and months of either pain or rehab or suffering,” said Dr. Alfred Pinto, chiropractor.

Pinto says he has seen several patients come in with back pain this year after shoveling. He says using straight shovels can add to the risk.

"Just that simple lifting, with that curve in there is like when I bend my knees when I'm standing. That takes the load off my lower back. The same principle with the shovel as well,” said Pinto.

Both doctors agree the snow will be there so there is no need to move in all at once.

"Take breaks, use common sense, go in and warm up and don't push yourself to the limit,” said Macphail.

The doctors also recommend not filling the shovel to its max and keeping your nose over your toes when lifting.

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