How To Safely Engage in Winter Activities if You Have Back Issues

Although it is commonly thought that cold weather makes back pain worse, no solid proof validates the theory. Regardless, cold climates can lead to activities and situations that threaten to make your back issues worse. If you have a history of back issues but still want to participate in winter activities or get some chores done, there are some common ways to prepare your body and prevent complications.

Shoveling Snow

Although irritating, shoveling snow is a necessary chore for any homeowner who wants to use the driveway. Shoveling anything can be a dangerous strain to your back, keep the following tips in mind when going out into the cold.

  • Keep your muscles warm and flexible with layered clothing.
  • Listen to weather forecasts the night before so you can have a good idea of when to start shoveling. Rushing through the snow so you’re not late for work opens the door for unnecessary risks.
  • Stretch your upper back, lower back, and legs before you raise your shovel. Shoveling normally requires muscles that don’t see much use on a daily basis, so you will want to prepare them for the strain.
  • Much like with a large crate, you want your arms and legs to lift the snow. Don’t use your back to raise the shovel.
  • Take a break if you feel tired.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath may indicate a more serious problem than just back issues. Contact a medical expert if these feelings occur.

Winter Sports

The snowy season gives people a chance to try out sports and activities not available at any other time. These same activities tend to have a higher risk of causing pain, even if you don’t have a history of back issues. To prevent strains and pulled muscles keep these warm up activities in mind. Each warm up should last between 7 to 10 minutes.

Skating – Before you get on the ice, take several lunging reps. To perform a lunge, take a far step forward with one foot, bending your back knee down to the floor while keeping the shoulders straight up. Repeat this process several times.

Skiing – Skiing puts a lot of pressure on the back of your legs since you are bending your knees most of the time. A routine of 10 to 15 squats can help your muscles prepare.

Sledding – While falling off a sled is an obvious way to get hurt, many people don’t consider the strain that sledding puts on their chest. The best stretch to combat the pressure involves laying on your back, pulling your knees to your chest, and holding the position for 30 seconds.

If you keep these tips in mind and still feel excessive back pain, strain, or soreness, you may need to see a medical expert to discuss the possible causes for your symptoms. Set an appointment with the Spine Institute in New Jersey today to address your back pain.