Top 4 Back Pain Relief Exercises After Snow Shoveling

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Last week, I detailed my best tips for how to shovel snow without hurting your back.  Since that time, we’ve received roughly 24 inches of heavy snow in the Elizabeth & Jersey City area, with another 3-6 inches due to hit our area this week.  Even with my best tips, all my patients have been looking for quick back pain relief, as pain can set in for even the best of us that follow all the best tips and ergonomic practices for shoveling snow.  I’ve even been experiencing back pain over the last week, so don’t feel bad!  The key is knowing what to do when back pain arrives so that it doesn’t end up taking over your day.

In the past, I’ve given many different exercises for how to get back pain relief at home.  Out of those many exercises, these are the top 4 that I have been using every day for the past week that really give the best, quick relief, in my opinion, for back pain after a hard day shoveling snow.  Be sure to remember to TAKE YOUR TIME when performing the movements, and remember: these exercises should not be causing more pain.  If you find that the pain is getting worse, make an appointment to see our pain relief specialists immediately, as this could be the sign of a larger problem.

Standing Shoulder Flex/Hip Ext With Back Arch (Wall)

Begin by facing a wall, arm-length apart, with your palms placed flat onto it. In one fluid motion, lift your right arm straight up toward the sky while also swinging your left leg out behind you, and then bring them both to the wall in front of you. Keep your left hand placed flat on the wall to steady yourself. Continue this motion, doing 3 reps of 10 on either side. This is a great way to get a deep stretch not only in your back, but also in your shoulders and hips.


Bird Dog (Leg Slide)

Here is a simple yoga stretch you can do in the comfort of your own home. Begin on the floor with your knees bent beneath you and your hands flat in front of you, so your back is flat toward the ceiling. Stretch your left arm out in front of you and your right leg out behind you, so your toes are pointing down at the ground. Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side, with your right arm and your left leg. Repeat 3-5 times. The Bird Dog (Leg Slide) exercise is great at targeting the back muscles to give you that relieving stretch you’re looking for!

Neural Mobility (Outward Turn)

Begin by lying with your back flat on the ground with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. Make sure you are on a comfortable surface. Clasp your hands behind your right thigh and pull it off the ground toward your chest. Then, slowly straighten out your leg so your foot is facing straight up toward the sky. Flex your foot once your leg is fully straightened, then bring your leg back down to a bent position, still keeping your hands clasped around your tight. Continue this motion, doing 3 reps of 10 on either side. These steps will allow for a good stretch in both your back and your calf muscles.


Lumbar Rotation Stretch in Lying

Back giving you troubles? Try a Lumbar Rotation Stretch in Lying. Lying sideways with your top knee bent and bottom knee straight, gently rotate your torso so your head is facing the opposite direction of your legs. Hold the stretch and then switch sides. This will stretch out your back and get you feeling comfortable once again!


If you perform these exercises at least once a day, I’m confident that you can get quick back pain relief while also keeping more pain away as you continue to shovel snow this week.   And remember, if there’s any increase in pain, make an appointment today with our excellent pain relief specialists.  We’re ready to help!

Stay safe, stay warm, and stay pain free!



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Dr. James Pumarada is a licensed Physical Therapist and co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation.   With over 19+ years of treatment experience, he is a Sports Therapy Certified physical therapist, focusing on treating and training runners of all levels, and is one of the most sought after vestibular therapy specialists in Elizabeth and Jersey City where, along with his wife, Dr. Asha, they specialize in the treatment of all dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance issues.