Most Canadians would probably agree that the country dodged an icy bullet last winter.

Unlike the previous winter which was registered as one of the warmest on the record books, it’s expected that the cold will be back with a vengeance this winter.

And with the cold temperatures comes snow. Wet, slippery, and more importantly, heavy, snow.

The average Canadian driveway is hit with several hundred pounds of white stuff after a heavy snowfall with 5-7 pounds per shovelful. To say removing it all from your property is a work-out is often an understatement.

And unless you have a willing and able son, or even son-in-law, to clear it all away, you’ll probably have to tackle the unenviable task for yourself.

But before you brave the cold and start a turf war against Mother Nature, here are some helpful hints to remember that may prevent back injury, courtesy of the Ontario Chiropractic Association’s Lift Light, Shovel Right education campaign.

1) Don’t let the snow pile up:  Keep your eyes on the weather reports to find out if there will be several days of snow. Frequent shoveling allows you to move smaller amounts of snow at once.

2) Pick the right shovel: All shovels are not necessarily the same. Use a lightweight pusher-type of shovel to help protect your back.

3) Push, don’t throw: Pushing snow to the side is easier on your muscles. Avoid lifting heavy amounts of snow and sudden twisting movements.

4) Bend your knees: Using your knees, legs and arm muscles to do the heavy lifting while keeping your back straight.

5) Warm up: Shoveling can be a strenuous activity, so take the time to warm up your muscles with some overall conditioning like walking followed by some stretches.

6) Take a break: Listen to your body and stop to take a rest if you feel tired or short of breath. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to remember that just because you may have a few teenagers at your disposal to do the heavy lifting, their youth doesn’t necessarily make them invincible.

“In order to avoid injury, children should be taught the proper technique earlier on,” said Dr. Natalia Lishchyna, president of the Ontario Chiropractic Association, in a telephone interview.