December 21, 2018
PROTECT YOUR HEALTH WHILE SHOVELING SNOW
ThedaCare Provides Tips to Avoid Snow-Related Injury
RIPON, Wis. – In Wisconsin, heavy snowfalls inevitably pay a visit each winter, but with a little extra care, snow-related injuries don’t have to be a part of the season.
“Bending and twisting motions during snow shoveling puts you at higher risk for injury,” said Dr. Steve Rasmussen, a family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Ripon. “Taking the time to make sure you’re doing it right is the most important thing.”
Dr. Rasmussen explains that when shoveling, you should keep good posture, such as a straight back. It’s also important to use legs and arms to lift the weight (rather than back muscles) and avoiding jerking or twisting while clearing snow. People with a history of back pain are particularly at risk.
While Wisconsinites like to get a job done well and quickly, it’s important to know your limitations. Scooping loads that are too heavy can also lead to injury, as can the moderate to heavy physical activity that comes with shoveling, particularly when you’re otherwise sedentary or unconditioned.
“Heart attacks while shoveling snow can happen to anyone, particularly those who have some risk factors, such as men over 40 who are smokers or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes,” said Dr. Rasmussen. “Often, they may believe they’ve pulled a muscle in their chest from shoveling when, in fact, it may be a heart attack.”
Anyone experiencing tightness in the chest that radiates to the arm or neck should call 911.
Slips and falls are also common injuries that can be dangerous, particularly for older people. Broken hips and backbones can lead to other complications. There is also the possibility of life-threatening head and neck injuries from falls.
Those who will spend anytime outside during winter months should also be aware that there may be ice under the snow. Dr. Rasmussen said there is a way to help avoid falling – walk like a penguin. He suggests taking small, shuffling steps rather than large steps that shift the weight distribution.
While there are risks, Dr. Rasmussen wants everyone to remember to get outside during the winter season.
“There’s a danger in packing on the hibernation pounds—make sure you’re getting outside and that you’re not afraid of the snow.”
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.