Is Your Lower Back Ready For Winter?

Your holiday shopping is done, but is your lower back ready for this winter?

Your hat and scarf were thrown aside after about 10 minutes of shoveling, once you started sweating. You got down the sidewalk with ease, breathing heavy but feeling good. It wasn’t until you tackled the ridge of packed snow, plowed around the cars into a dense mound, that you realized you were in for it. By the second to last ambitious shovel lift, you feel that familiar twinge in your lower back and by the next morning, you can hardly get out of bed!

Have you been in this situation before?  If you have, you are not alone. Winters can be treacherous. Snow shoveling sends approximately 11,500 people to the hospital each year[1]. On top of that, slips on ice forced around 42,480 Americans to miss work in a 2014 study by the bureau of labor statistics[2]. Lower back pain is one of the leading causes of doctor’s office visits and results in work lost, pain medication and billions of dollars in US health care costs annually[3].  A curved snow shovel and some rock salt will only take you so far.

The good news is there are options. Whether you have a new injury, chronic pain, or are just having trouble moving around the way you used to, Excel Physical Therapy is here to help.

At Excel, your first visit will be a one on one, hour-long assessment with a doctor of physical therapy. Your physical therapist is specially trained to evaluate your core, alignment, strength, and flexibility. Any deficits in these areas can lead to injury-inducing lifting techniques. If these imbalances in your biomechanics are not addressed, they can lead to wear and tear in the future. On top of that, repetitive lifting required for common activities like snow shoveling, moving boxes, and even carrying small children can fatigue your muscles and place your joints in positions that are vulnerable to injury.

Luckily, our treatment model is designed for precisely these kinds of issues. You’ll receive an individualized plan of care that’s centered on your functional goals as well as the measurements we take in your initial examination. Our certified specialists tailor treatment to a host of orthopedic issues including disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, scoliosis, sciatica, and low back sprains. We utilize hands-on care with each patient to get to the cause of your problem and find the solution together.

If you have any concerns regarding your pain or mobility leading up to this winter season, don’t wait for it to worsen!  A growing number of studies suggest that early physical therapy can help improve outcomes and help decrease health care costs[4]. Call today to schedule your first visit and take your first step to overcome any problems holding you back this winter.

Samuel Kelly, PT, DPT

Assistant Clinic Director

Certified Vestibular Therapist

Excel Physical Therapy – Levittown

[1] Watson DS, Shields BJ, Smith GA. Snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies treated in US EDs, 1990 to 2006. Am J Emerg Med. 2011 Jan;29(1):11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.07.003. Epub 2010 Mar 25. PMID: 20825768.

[2] 42,480 work injuries involved ice, sleet, or snow in 2014 : The Economics Daily: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

[3] Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, et al. Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2016 Feb. (Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 169.) Introduction. Available from:

[4] Ojha HA, Wyrsta NJ, Davenport TE, Egan WE, Gellhorn AC. Timing of Physical Therapy Initiation for Nonsurgical Management of Musculoskeletal Disorders and Effects on Patient Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2016;46(2):56-70. doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.6138

Excel Physical Therapy is excited to offer an electronic version of our  January Newsletter


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