Spine-Health.com has a tutorial for snow shoveling. (I know, who needs instructions for shoveling?! Apparently, quite a few of us. It's a common injury source among my patients.)
The high points are summarized here:
- Get an ergonomic shovel. Those bendy handles can shift the load off of your back.
- Warm up first. Yes, really. Get the blood flowing to those muscles before you ask so much of them.
- Try to scoot the snow rather than lift it.
- If you must lift, remember the load is as heavy as a small child. Square your shoulders and hips and lift with your legs. Then don't twist your trunk! Pivot your whole body instead.