Prior to heading out to shovel I recommend you perform simple stretching exercises for your lower back, upper back, legs and arms. This is particularly important if your shoveling time is during a rushed morning prior to work. You are likely much tighter, and more susceptible to injury, in the early morning as you simply have not moved much yet.
Correct techniques during the act of shoveling can significantly reduce the likelihood of muscle or disc injury:
1. When shoveling, push and throw forward in the direction of the push. Do not lift the load and then twist to throw it to your right or left. The back twisting under load is the action most physically stressful to the intervertebral discs and the muscles of the back.
2. If you must throw the snow in a direction other than the original push, turn with your legs. Take a step right or left to allow you to throw the snow without twisting.
3. Are you going to save that much time by taking a full shovel full? Don't scoop as much snow each lift (especially wet snow like yesterday). If you did the math, you would not save much time.
4. Have your 13 year old son do it all... Well, even if that worked, it would only be a temporary fix and if anything makes snow shoveling tolerable it is having a few laughs with your child in the process.
Lastly, don’t forget that with any physical activity, if you feel any shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, or severe muscle pain you should stop the activity and seek immediate medical attention.