Let It Snow – Tips for Shoveling Safely

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 27, 2015

Snow shoveling requires good technique and proper body mechanics to be performed safely.

Today’s medical information comes from Nicole Durand PT, DPT, a physical therapist working for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Rehabilitation Department at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough, MA.

Many people have been prepping for the winter weeks ahead by making sure they have all the necessary supplies for snow and ice removal. However, whether it’s 2-3 inches or 6-10 inches of snow, we shouldn’t only be concerned about what to purchase, but also how we can protect ourselves. Snow shoveling requires good technique and proper body mechanics to be performed safely and not cause lasting harm. Improper technique can lead to low back or shoulder injuries.

There are several muscle groups at work within the back, legs, and shoulder when shoveling, and therefore, lots of room for error. Here are some helpful hints to avoid injury and to prevent any unwanted pain in the days following a storm:

1.   Hinge your hips

When bending to pick up the snow, think of your hips as a hinge. Bend and move through this joint, keeping your back flat, rather than curving your mid or lower back. You also should use your abdominals as a brace or corset to stabilize yourself every time you bend over.

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Five Tips for a Healthy Rotator Cuff

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 9, 2014

Throwing athletes use their shoulders aggressively and are at increased risk of rotator cuff damage.

Contributor: Elizabeth G. Matzkin, MD, is Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics.

The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. They act like cables on a suspension bridge to coordinate movement of the shoulder in space and to enhance the stability of the shoulder joint. Injury to this important group of muscles can cause pain and limit shoulder function. Non-sports activities can cause such injuries, but throwing athletes use their shoulders aggressively and are at increased risk of rotator cuff damage.

Simple everyday measures, however, can significantly improve the health of the rotator cuff and prevent future injuries. Dr. Elizabeth G. Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at BWH and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, offers patients the following five simple tips for maintaining a healthy rotator cuff.

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