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Heavy Snowfall Brings Increased Risk Of Injuries

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) -- John Egnell knows he can't beat winter, so he joins it.

Friday morning, he took care of his own driveway, and then tackled two other driveways for neighbors in Brooklyn Park.

He has a snow blower, so he was more than happy to help.

"My hands are a little sore just from using a snow blower," Egnell said. "I can't imagine shoveling it all."

And it's shoveling that has gotten a lot of people in trouble this winter, especially during a heavy, wet snowfall that saw more than half a foot dropped on much of the Twin Cities.

Dr. Kartika Bhardwaj is a family physician with HCMC's Brooklyn Park clinic. She was scheduled to see three patients for back pain Friday.

After a snow like this one, back pain is a common complaint, and one she says is completely avoidable.

"Do slowly and steadily, instead of just trying to rush through it," Bhardwaj said. "Use your legs more instead of your shoulders and just your back muscles. Try to bend down, scoop, throw it away. Bend down, scoop and throw it away. Not many people do that."

And it's not just the back. Many people suffer from chest pains while shoveling. Dr. Bhardwaj says more often than not, it's a muscle problem and not a heart attack. But she thinks older homeowners shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

"Ask your neighbors, ask somebody if they can help you," she said. "Most of the time, you know, Minnesotans are nice."

She stresses that when shoveling, it's lifting with your legs that will save you a trip to the hospital.

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