12 Tips to Prevent Forearm and Elbow Pain After Shoveling Snow or Dirt

forearm pain after shovellingWinter, sadly, is just around the corner, and the time is coming where you will have to use the shovel to clear your driveway or property.

The worst part of shoveling, other than the fact that you will actually have to shovel, is that it can result in strained muscle.

A strained muscle can be really painful to deal with.

It can quickly be caused by shoveling in the wrong posture or the incorrect way.

A strained forearm muscle, if not taken care of properly, may spread to nearby muscles.

However, make sure you are getting it treated at the right time in order to get a quick recovery.

If you or any of your loved ones is suffering from the forearm pain after shoveling, this in-depth write-up can help to alleviate the pain.

The article will cover symptoms, prevention, treatment, and tips to get rid of strained muscles near your elbow and the pain that follows once you have completed shoveling for the day.

Let’s have a look at them.


The symptoms of strained muscle that is caused by forearm pain after shoveling include:

  • Pain in the muscle
  •  Swelling
  •  Loss of strength
  •  Tenderness and soreness
  •  Pain while stretching the arm

If the soreness or the other symptoms last for more than 48 hours, there are chances that you have an injury.

Hence, waste no more time to contact your physician.

Intersection syndrome

Shoveling for a longer period of time or in a wrong posture can also result in Intersection Syndrome.

It is a painful condition of the wrist and forearm.

Apart from shoveling, it can be also caused due to heavy raking, weight lifting, and other such activities that include repeated wrist actions.

Doctors conduct a physical examination to diagnose the intersection syndrome.

It requires no special tests to be performed on the patient’s body.

SpineMD has some great tips you can check out over here.


Some simple prevention measures can help one to avoid suffering from the pain caused by shoveling.

The prevention tips include:

1. The use of proper gear while shoveling.

It will keep you protected from slipping in the snow.

Moreover, use such equipment that wouldn’t let you exert extra energy.

2. Do not shovel for a longer period of time.

Shoveling for an enhanced period of time increases the risk of forearm pain.

3. Take timely breaks in between the shoveling, if there is too much snow.

Shoveling too much at one time can lead to overexertion and enhanced chances of suffering from muscle strain.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The more physically fit you are, the lesser there are chances of suffering this pain as your body is accustomed to heavy lifting in the gym.

Try to reduce the quantity of alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes.

A person who smokes or drinks more often is at a higher risk of suffering forearm pain after shoveling and other issues.

Moreover, the impact of the pain also depends on your lifestyle.

5. Before you begin shovelling, simply warm-up exercises like stretching of muscles and loosening them up can help to decrease the chances of forearm pain after shoveling.

6. Apart from forearm pain, shoveling can also result in pain in lower half of your body.

Hence, it is advised to prepare your body by slightly bending your knees before you begin shoveling.

7. A key tip to prevent the forearm pain after shoveling is to shovel the right way.

The best way is to avoid twisting and bending your body simultaneously while you are shoveling.

Keep your posture correct i.e. back straight. Shovel the snow, which is directly in front of you.

It will help to avoid strained muscles.

8. Do not bend on back; rather bend at the knees.

9. In order to lift the snow, keep your abs tight, bend to the knees with an arch, slightly, in your back.

10. Avoid twisting your body in order to toss the snow.

Rather, walk the snow to the place you want to place it.

11. Do not tighten your body.

The best practice is to stay loose.

You can keep your body loose by doing small and supported back bends.

Slowly lean backward by placing your hands on the lower back.

Remain in this posture until you feel a small stretch.

12. Try and keep your body hydrated to energize your body.

Many people make this mistake of using caffeinated beverages for keeping their body energized.

However, it can do more harm than good to your body.

The best choice to keep the body hydrated is water.

The Rothman Institute of Orthopaedics has an interesting article on this topic as well.

Tips to Alleviate the Pain

There are some tips that can come in handy to alleviate the forearm pain after shoveling.

These tips are:

1.  Apply Ice: The best practice to get rid of the pain is to apply ice within the 24-48 hours.

It can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

To apply ice, place it between a towel.

Apply it for about 20 minutes on the affected area.

2. Healthy Diet: Healthy diet can enhance your stamina, which will help to lessen the impact of a strained muscle.

You shouldn’t only wait for forearm pain to occur to start taking healthy diet.

Make it a necessary part of the lifestyle in order to stay healthy and fit.

3. Proper Rest: Avoid doing any sort of physical exertion if you are suffering from muscle strain and forearm pain.

Give your workout regime a rest for few days as it can worsen the case.

The pain will go after few days, if it doesn’t, consult your doctor and they will suggest a suitable treatment for you.

4. Epsom Salt: Another great tip to alleviate the pain is to take a warm bath right after shoveling.

It will help to relax your body.

However, adding a capful of Epsom salt can prove to be a great way to get relief from the forearm soreness and pain.

5.  Small Workouts: While rest is most recommended; however, small and gentle workouts can also help to alleviate the pain.

It can help to increase the blood pressure in the muscles of the forearm that are causing pain.

The small workouts that can help to get rid of the pain include a small jog in the park or a quick rolling session.


The treatment for curing strained muscles and forearm pain after shoveling varies as per the severity and the degree of the pain.

The basic treatment to cure the pain is to give your body the proper rest.

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Stop doing any form of strong or hard physical activity if you are suffering from strained muscles, doing otherwise may aggravate the pain rather than alleviating it.

This step will give your body the proper rest it requires to heal quickly.

After the following the first step i.e. giving rest to your body, the next step is to apply ice pack on the affected area.

Along with applying the ice packs, gently massage the muscles in order to decrease the swelling.

Moreover, you can also use some OTC medications for this purpose.

If a strained muscle or forearm pain is not dealt with carefully, it can affect the nearby joints as well.

Therefore, in order to avoid further swelling, you can wrap the strained area with a bandage.

It will contain the swelling rather than prompting further swelling.

The last step of the treatment is to keep the strained area elevated while you are resting.

This step is important as it will prevent excess blood flow to the affected area.

Excess blood flow can aggravate the swelling; hence, make sure you are following this step during treatment.

In case, the pain has worsened or swelling is spreading to other joints, immediately contact your physician.

They will perform a thorough inspection and suggest the most suitable treatment for you.

Recovery Period

Just like the treatment, the recovery period also depends on the severity and degree of the pain.

While a strained muscle can take a full day to recover, but the pain may last for some more time.

The key lies in giving your body a proper rest.

As discussed above, indulging in heavy physical activities after suffering from forearm pain after shoveling may worsen the condition.

The Final Word

To sum it up, forearm pain after shoveling and strained muscle can prove to be very painful.

You may have to take a complete break from your work routine and rest at home.

Moreover, the pain that arises due to injuries and strained muscles can be difficult to deal with.

The above guide for preventing and treating this pain can come in very handy for you if you are living in such a place which receive frequent snowfalls.

Follow these simple practices mentioned above and shovel the snow without the risk of getting your muscle strained.

If you have already researched and found out that you have injured the muscles in your forearm and near your elbow …

Check out the video on the next page and do a simple test to know for sure!

tips you can use right now

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