8 safety tips for shoveling snow

shovelingEvery year thousands of people go to hospital emergency departments after injuring themselves while shoveling snow.

In fact, an analysis of 17 years of hospital records found that about 195,100 people sought emergency treatment for snow shoveling-related injuries during that time span—an average of 11,500 per year, according to the 2011 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

“Snow removal is high-stress on the back if done incorrectly,” said Steven Morgan, MD, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), “and it’s especially dangerous if you don’t exercise regularly.

“Always proceed with caution when removing snow,” he added.

If you have a medical condition—such as a heart problem—ask or hire someone to do the shoveling for you, said Dr. Morgan. Or be sure to talk with your doctor before taking on the job yourself.

Here are some additional tips from the AAOS:

1. Use proper equipment. Don’t use a shovel that’s too heavy or too long for you.

2. Warm up first. Do some light exercises for about 10 minutes before heading out.

3. Start early. A light covering of fresh snow is easier to clear than heavy, packed snow.

4. Push, don’t lift. Pushing snow takes less effort than lifting a shovel load. But if you must lift, scoop small amounts. Squat with legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Don’t bend at the waist.

5. Walk, don’t throw. Walk your small shovel load to wherever you want to dump it. Don’t throw it over your shoulder or to the side.

6. Dress appropriately. Light, layered clothing is best for ventilation and insulation. Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles, and put on a warm hat and gloves.

7. Take frequent breaks. Pace yourself. Don’t overexert. Take breaks to drink fluids and avoid dehydration.

8. Listen to your body. Shoveling snow can be hard on the heart. If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, stop and seek emergency medical help.

Meet Daniel Kwon, MD

Specializing in physical medicine rehabilitation and pain medicine, Daniel Kwon is a physician at Water’s Edge Pain Clinic. Daniel got into medicine because he likes the challenges of science; the fact that everything is dynamic and moving. He also enjoys the diversity associated with helping patients get to a better place than their current situation. For fun, Daniel enjoys spending time with his family, outdoor related activities, and interacting with the Yakima community.

MORE ON CHRONIC PAIN AND PROLOTHERAPY – FAQ

What do you mean by chronic pain?

A person is said to have a chronic condition, or chronic pain, if their condition does not improve completely within three to six months. Those with chronic pain should consider prolotherapy because it stimulates the painful structure and repairs the affected area.

What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the body to repair painful areas. It involves the injection of natural substances into painful areas to stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms to strengthen and heal injured structures like ligaments and tendons. Ligament injury is presumed to be the preliminary cause of degeneration. Because most degenerated joints have tenderness at ligament attachments around the joint, degenerative arthritis and degenerated structures typically respond positively. It is a great treatment for pain arising from ligaments, tendons, and degenerated joints.

Prolotherapy and surgery—How do they compare?

Prolotherapy is a conservative alternative to surgery and to date; they have not been compared side by side in a scientific study. The initial recommendation from patients and Prolotherapists is that a person should try it before surgery in most cases. There are definitely emergency conditions that require immediate surgery.

Will there be soreness after Prolotherapy?

Yes. You can expect the soreness in your muscles to feel similar to the way they feel after a good workout. Typically, the area feels tighter and stronger immediately. You shouldn’t experience a high level of pain after treatment. If you do, please call your Prolotherapist’s office. Sometimes pain pills or muscle relaxers are needed for a short period of time.

What are the signs that it is working?

Signs you know that treatment is working:

  • Pain level is decreasing
  • The amount of pain medication required is decreasing
  • Function or activity level is increasing
  • Clicking or grinding of the joint is decreasing
  • The area moves better and muscle spasms are decreasing
  • Patient is happier
  • Exercise level is increasing
  • Tenderness in the area of pain is decreasing

 

Most people get treated until they are pain, or almost, pain free. It continues to regenerate structures for many months after the last treatment.

 

What if IT doesn’t work? Do you have any other solutions or tests you can do?

If a patient has not responded to their initial treatments, a second opinion may be obtained. Prolotherapists vary in experience, techniques and in the amount of solution administered. Many doctors believe healing can be enhanced by eating a proper diet, taking supplements, exercise and receiving natural hormone replacements.

Can IT regenerate cartilage?

There is some evidence that it can regenerate articular cartilage. Cases have been reported where people no longer need knee and hip replacements because of the treatments. While the results are preliminary, the Journal of Prolotherapy hopes to publish more case reports and x-ray/MRI evidence.

What are the risks?

Like all injection procedures, it carries with it a risk of infection. With treatments, there is a risk of increased pain, swelling, bleeding, bruising, and redness. Depending on the injection area, there can be a risk of pneumothorax (puncture of the lung), nerve injury, ligament injury, tendon injury, muscle spasms, spinal headache (spinal leak), and synovitis (joint swelling/pain). Please discuss these risks with your Prolotherapist.

What is the success rate?

In general, the success rates are excellent but vary and are relative to each patient’s condition. Upon the initial visit, the Prolotherapist will identify the typical and expected number of treatments and expected response. Again, medicine is not an exact science. An individual considering Prolotherapy should realize that the outcomes cannot be fully predicted.

For more information on Prolotherapy, call the experts at Lakeview Spine at 574-6000 or click here.

 

 

CHRONIC PAIN? FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do you mean by chronic pain?

A person is said to have a chronic condition, or chronic pain, if their condition does not improve completely within three to six months. Those with chronic pain should consider prolotherapy because it stimulates the painful structure and repairs the affected area.

What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the body to repair painful areas. It involves the injection of natural substances into painful areas to stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms to strengthen and heal injured structures like ligaments and tendons. Ligament injury is presumed to be the preliminary cause of degeneration. Because most degenerated joints have tenderness at ligament attachments around the joint, degenerative arthritis and degenerated structures typically respond positively. It is a great treatment for pain arising from ligaments, tendons, and degenerated joints.

What do you mean “stimulates normal healing?”

The body heals by inflammation. Often, an athlete’s muscles are sore after a difficult workout. This soreness occurs because the muscles have become inflamed during the workout. The normal inflammatory healing reaction will not only repair the damage from the workout, but will also cause the muscle physiology to change; making the muscle fibers bigger, stronger and have more blood supply. Prolotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the normal healing reaction. Like exercise, it can cause structures like ligaments and tendons to become stronger and thicker. Because it stimulates normal healing, athletes and people who are active love the therapy because they can work out while receiving this treatment.

What are some of the conditions that respond to Prolotherapy?

 

•Tendon strains
• Incomplete tendon tears
• Incomplete ligament tears
• Ligament sprains
• Degenerative joint disease
• Spine arthritis
• Fibromyalgia pain
• Frozen shoulder
• Adhesive capsulitis
• Loose joints
• Subluxing joints
• Hypermobility syndrome
• Bone spurs
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Tendinosis
• Coccydynia
• Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
• Pubic Symphysis pain
• Tennis Elbow
• Meniscal tear
• Labral tear
• Post Surgery Pain
• Osteoarthrits pain
• Pyriformis Syndrome
• Iliotibial pain
• Chondromalacia patella
• Shin splints

For more information on Prolotherapy, call the experts at Lakeview Spine at 574-6000 or visit yakimamemorial.org/medical-services-memorials-medical-groups.asp#lake