The best snow shovel for people with back problems is the one in someone else’s hands. Shoveling snow is not a job for those of us with bad backs, or weak hearts. How much and how often this task rears its ugly head depends on where you live, of course. If snowfall in your area is intermittent and is heavy only occasionally, please consider using a service, or a local who goes door to door during heavy snowfalls.
If heavy snowfalls are the norm and you absolutely refuse to move to a milder climate, paying for snow removal can turn into an expensive proposition. If you have back problems and you simply must shovel snow yourself do invest in an ergonomically designed snow shovel. The study of ergonomics has lead to a variety of snow shovel designs intended to be easier on the back.
The old-fashioned snow shovels with a concave blade and a short handle make it nearly impossible to shovel without bending. Modern shovel designs include longer handles, a variety of blade designs and improved grips. The shaped handle of an ergonomic snow shovel allows the user to get a good angle without having to nearly bend double.
There is no single design that works best for everyone. An individual user’s height and arm length play an important part in the right shovel choice. Visit a local home center, or hardware store, and physically test different shovel designs to choose the right one for you. Do some air shoveling paying close attention to the position of your back during the motions. The best snow shovel choice for you will allow your back to remain straight with your hands fitting comfortably on the grips.
Going through shoveling motions will only give you a feel for the position of your body during the real deal. It’s a different kettle of fish when you have a shovelful of heavy, wet snow. Whatever shovel design you choose please exercise patience during snow removal. It’s tempting to try to move as much snow as possible with each bite of the shovel. You want to get the job over with and get in out of the cold. However, even a healthy back is aggravated by bending, lifting and most of all, twisting under load.
Choose the snow shovel that feels most comfortable to you and make use of all the excellent advice available for safe shoveling techniques. Bend your knees; lift with your legs, not your back; don’t twist your upper body while keeping your lower body in the same position. If you’re not in the best of shape, do some warm up exercises before shoveling and take frequent breaks. If you must shovel snow with back problems make it as user friendly as possible.