How to Avoid Back Pain This Winter

Back pain is often attributed to falling temperatures, but is the weather alone to blame? When the seasons change, often outdoor chores tend to wreak havoc on the lower backs of many. Raking leaves, shoveling, holiday decorating, and various other activities often involve a great deal of bending and twisting. When these activities are done incorrectly, muscle strain and discomfort may occur. To better manage and even avoid these painful instances, here are some tips to ensure back pain stays at bay when the cooler weather sets in.

Exercise Caution on Snow and Ice

Snow and ice may present dangerous walking conditions and should be approached with the utmost caution. Slips and falls on ice often lead to painful injuries that can cause lasting discomfort. When walking outside in colder temperatures, make certain to wear appropriate footwear designed to provide traction in snow and ice. In addition, be careful to observe surroundings to make certain ice and snow do not present a risk of falling. Keeping sidewalks, steps, and driveways shoveled and clear will also reduce the risk of falling. If a fall occurs and is accompanied by sharp or radiating pain, visit your doctor promptly. This type of pain may indicate a serious injury a medical doctor should quickly diagnose.

Practice Safe Movement Patterns

Raking and shoveling can wreak havoc on the lower back if done incorrectly. To avoid soreness and possible strain, it is essential to pay close attention to body positioning during outdoor yard work. When shoveling, be sure to lift with the legs and generate force through the lower body rather than through the back. When bending over and twisting, take care to move cautiously and keep the spine as straight as possible. Be certain to use the proper tools to perform yard work as well; tools with long handles can decrease the strain felt on the muscles and can be leveraged to manage a great deal of weight.

To further protect against strain and possible injury, always warm up before performing yard work. Priming the muscles to do more strenuous work will loosen them and allow for increased range of motion. Light stretching and lifting before heavier also increases blood flow to the muscles and prepares them for more strenuous activities.

Keep Muscles Warm and Engaged

Cold weather not only forces many people indoors, but inadvertently results in much less overall physical activity. Unfortunately, muscles that are not regularly active may be a culprit in consistent aches and pains. Lack of activity coupled with an increase in calorie consumption throughout the holiday season may also cause people to gain weight, adding more stress to the musculoskeletal system.

To avoid overstressing the body and any accompanying soreness, maintaining regular physical activity – even through the winter months – can lessen the strain on muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments. This will help ensure these structures remain supple and mobile and will decrease the chance of developing persistent aches and pains from excessive sitting. It is also important to wear attire that is weather-appropriate; muscles, ligaments, and tendons that are cold and stiff are the most prone to damage. If you find yourself experiencing frequent back pain this winter, contact Marc Cohen Spine Center. We offer multiple back pain solutions including minamally invasive surgery.