How to Eliminate Back Pain from Shoveling snow

A stiff or sore or painful back is unfortunately not uncommon after a day of shoveling snow.  Back problems can eve rare their head if you use a snow blower if you are out there long enough.  While pain and soreness may be a common part of shoveling snow, how you treat it and deal with it can prevent chronic never-ending back pain.

The worst thing you can do for your back if it is stiff or sore from shoveling snow if pop some Advil or any other anti-inflammatory and lay on the couch and wait for the pain to go away.   While the pain or soreness or stiffness you are feeling may not be serious enough to go to the doctor of have someone treat it, it is important to do gentle exercises to eliminate the pain in the muscles.  Failing to do so will cause the pain to come back again and next time it will take longer to go away.

The exercises that we are going to go through that are also going to be shown in the video are not exercises that you are just going to do for a minute or 2 and then feel great and in the beginning, they may really hurt to get started.

Most often the pain that you feel after snow blowing is due to muscle soreness and stiffness which is what these exercises are going to target.  However, to be certain of what is causing your back pain you do want to get it checked out by a medical professional to ensure that it in fact just muscle pain that is causing the pain and there is no disc or nerve involvement.

When you have a stiff or a sore or a painful muscle it is important that you keep moving.  Not the thing that you want to do at the time because it won’t feel great and it will feel better to rest but the best thing for the muscle is continuous movement.  And I don’t mean a run or a hard workout.  I mean gentle movement, easy stretches, nice easy walking.

Below the video will show you some easy exercises to do to loosen up your back.  You want to do these continuous throughout the day.  A few at a time.  If you want to do these while standing in a hot shower that is good for the muscles also and then if you want to apply ice for about 15 minutes after performing these exercises or at the end of the day, that will also help reduce the pain.

The first exercise is just a simple arch and tuck of your pelvis.  A lot of times you are hunched over when you have a sore back and you can’t stand up straight.  These exercises can be done in either a standing up straight position or a hunched over with your hands resting on your knees or on the counter position.  What you want to do is to start is round your back and your shoulders dropping your head.  You may not be able to arch very deeply due to the pain but drop your head, round your shoulders and tuck your pelvis under.  Then you want to go in the opposite direction, lifting your head up and rolling your pelvis in the opposite direction, sticking your butt out.  If you are familiar with the cat and camel exercise, this is a exactly what you are doing you just are not lowering yourself to the ground because a lot of times it is too painful to be on the ground.  Move into this movement as much or as little as your back pain allows.  This is a great one to do with hot water running over your back.

This motion will most likely be sore and stiff and uncomfortable and that is okay.  Just move through the movement as much as you can, you will notice that eventually it will loosen up and you will be able to do this further.  You want to do this exercise at least every hour if not more.

It is also to be noted that if you are laying on your back this exercise can be done laying on your back to, just bend you knees up to do it.

The hardest part about shoveling and the main reason you get sore is from all the twisting.  Therefore, we are going to work on some of the muscles that are involved in twisting.

You want to gently lower yourself to the floor and get on your hands and knees.  Then reach your hands out forward and try to sit your butt on your heels.  You may get no where close.  But gently rock back and hold for a few seconds and then come forward.  Repeat this about 30 times nice and slow.  You eventually want to be able to sit on your heels, but this may not come until later or even a day or two later.  But you don’t want to push yourself to tears just nice and easy and eventually it will come.

The final stretch is the most difficult and it directly work the muscles you use for twisting.

You want to stay on your hands and knees.  You want to reach your right arm out to the side and then up towards the sky.  You may not get very far.  You may just get your arm off the ground.  Then you want to thread your underneath you and reach underneath the left arm.  This is best viewed on the video.  The main point is you may not be able to do the entire movement, but you can do as much of the movement as you can tolerate.  Even If it is just a little movement in each direction and then as time goes on with each repetition trying to get bigger and bigger with the movements.  Trying to do about 30 repetitions each side.

If you are experiencing back pain in Norristown or sciatica in Horsham or lower back pain in Hatfield, then call 215-997-9898 to schedule a free consultation!


We’re Hiring!
We Have an Immediate Opening for a Physical Therapist in Harleysville. Resumes Can Be Sent to

Scroll to Top