Snow Pusher vs. Snow Shovel
What Should I look for in a Snow Shovel if I have back pain? Not all snow shovels are made the same. Some are made to make it easier for your back, while others are designed to gather as much snow as possible.
Over 11,000 snow shovel-related injuries are reported in the United States every year. This includes injuries like acute musculoskeletal exertion (fractures) and cardiovascular emergencies (heart attacks).
When it’s time to shovel, use the following strategies to protect your back:
- Don’t hurry.
- Drink plenty of fluids before and during, and take breaks.
- Dress appropriately. Gloves. Hat. Non-slip boots.
- Whichever snow-moving tool you choose: Focus on using your legs as much as possible, bending knees to lift and avoid overly using your back.
- Push snow when possible instead of lifting.
- Stretch and warm muscles before snow-clearing sessions.
- Use proper equipment, ensuring that the shovel is not too long or too heavy. Space your hands out on the handle to increase your leverage.
- If scoop shoveling, walk the snow to where you want to put it. Don’t throw it to the side or over your shoulder, which can force you to twist and cause injury.
- Bend and straighten your knees to lift the shovel, instead of bending at the waist.
- Keep your back straight. This squatting technique puts the work in your legs instead of your back and helps stop you from leaning forward. Listen to your body.
- If you’re expecting a lot of snow, start early and work in shorter shifts throughout the day. This way, you won’t have to lift very heavy loads of tightly packed snow.
We're a little biased to snow pushers, but for good reason! "The SNOWPLOW Snow Pushers offer a sleek blade, made of Virgin UHMW polyethylene, delivering extreme resistance to abrasion and wear." - Bob Vila
When compared to a scoop shovel, the repetitive, heavy lifting and twisting while removing snow is significantly decreased. The snow pusher blade does the work clearing, leading to a smoother operation as users push forward using the handle. Lifting large piles weighing too much can lead to exerted heart rate and/or muscle strain. The snow pusher reduces tension on the heart and the back as the snow is not lifted. With a snow pusher, the snow can be placed evenly along a path, compared with the scoop style where users tend to create big piles in one specific location. Pusher shovels are useful for organizing and stacking snow, compared with merely tossing it out of the way.
There's also a place for scoop snow shovels. If the surface below is not flat, pushers could leave extra snow behind. A snow pusher is meant to push snow out of the way, like that of a snow plow, not for lifting and moving snow. When scoop shoveling, be careful of full loads of snow, the blade can get quite heavy, requiring proper ergonomic handles. It can be tedious to clear a large area of fallen snow with smaller scoop shovels. The repetition of lifting and tossing heavy loads can cause joint or muscle pain and other injuries.
Ultimately we suggest you have both versions of shovels. Take your first pass with a pusher and clean up small spaces or snow build up with a scoop shovel. Either way, shoveling requires muscles you don't often use. This, with the mixture of freezing cold weather and slippery ice can be a mixture for disaster. Please be aware of your surroundings and consider the golden rule "safety first."