Another dump of snow over the weekend, and another reminder of some of the perils of winter! As I was shoveling my driveway on Monday, the fluffy snow was moving quite easily, so I began to move faster as I cleared away one shovel-width swath at a time. All was going smoothly and I was pleased with my progress, until I reached the icy spot! Before the snow arrived, most of the driveway was completely clean and dry, but there was a medium sized patch of smooth ice, and in my rush to clear the newly fallen snow, I forgot that it was there. So as I pushed forward, the snow curling off the front of my shovel in that satisfying way, my feet which had perfect traction until then suddenly slipped out from under me. They skidded awkwardly sideways because of the slope of the drive, and in an instant I found myself on the ground. Fortunately I was not injured, having only slipped down onto my knees, but not all are so lucky! Often when you unexpectedly encounter a patch of ice under the snow, your feet slide quickly forward, and you land on your tailbone or back, and risk banging your head as well. Unfortunately, there is no sure way to know if there is ice hiding under the snow, especially if the surface you are walking on is unfamiliar. The best you can do is be cautious and walk as if there is ice. If you feel yourself starting to fall, sometimes it is better to just relax and let yourself go down. (I know that is easier said than done!) But often if you try to ‘catch’ yourself mid-fall, you actually do more damage because of the sudden contractions of your muscles. As with any muscle or joint injury, sometimes you won’t feel much pain right away. So if you do fall, and then start hurting a day or two later, make sure you come in and get checked out. Your spine will thank you!