This winter has been particularly cold and snow has blanketed regions all over the United States. Unfortunately, winter wonderlands are not always completely enjoyable. In fact, when roads get icy and slick, they can be quite dangerous. But, perhaps surprisingly, there might be some risks before you even get onto the road. Shoveling out your car or clearing your driveway can be quite dangerous.
Shoveling, though generally considered more of an annoying task than a health risk, leads to some 11,500 injuries a year and nearly 100 deaths. A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that 55% of all injuries are soft tissue damage, while 16% are lacerations and 7% are fractures.
Predictably, the majority of injuries are to the lower back, which account for 34% of all injuries.
“Just today, a patient in very, very good shape said, ‘I’ll be back soon. I’m shoveling snow tomorrow,’” said spinal physician Natacha Falcon.
But the risk to the health of your back does not end after you are able to shovel your car out and navigate the icy roads to get to work. The way you sit at your desk chair could actually lead to pain and discomfort or more serious long-term issues. As a result, you should take the time to find the proper way to sit so that your back is kept healthy.
Dr. Brandon Manson notes, “Choosing a proper setup can limit the amount of stresses imposed on the body and reduce the probability of a problem. Things to focus on include putting the monitor directly in front of your keyboard and at eye level.” He also adds that chair height is quite important, and making adjustments tends to the easiest fix to incorrect and harmful posture.
On top of that, using the right chair is also quite important. OSHA recommends chairs that offer the right combination of lumbar support and help maintain the proper s-curve of the spine. It might be tempting to go for the big, fancy leather office chair, but it might not be as good for your health as something that doesn’t look as nice.
Sometimes, there is no way to prevent heavy, slushy snow from causing a sore back, no matter how good of shape you are in. Stopping problems that come from incorrect posture at your desk are easily preventable, fortunately. Using a few helpful tips is smart for making sure you don’t need to add sitting in an office to the list of risk factors for your back.