Winter Activities that Can Cause Pain and How to Prevent It

Man experiencing knee pain in the snow

Do You Know How to Lower Your Risk of Painful Winter Injuries?

Becoming a couch potato isn't the only way to prevent aches and pains this winter. Making a few changes to your usual routine will reduce your risk of injury when participating in these winter activities.

Winter Sports

Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and ice hockey can take a toll on your body, particularly if you only hit the slopes or the rink occasionally. Falls and collisions can cause fractures, dislocations, and cuts, but those aren't the only injuries you need to worry about. Back and neck pain, sprains, strains, spinal misalignments, and muscle spasms can happen even if a fall seems fairly minor.

How to Avoid Injuries: The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends warming up with squats, lunges, and jumping jacks before you venture outside. Warming up improves flexibility, which can help you avoid ending the day with a heating pad on your back. Snow tubing, sledding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing can be good choices if you prefer activities that are a little easier on the body.

Shoveling Snow

Snow may look light and fluffy, but the white stuff can be surprisingly heavy. In fact, each shovelful may weigh several pounds. The wetter the snow, the heavier the load. If weight lifting isn't part of your usual workout routine, you may be more likely to experience muscle or joint pain. Twisting when you shovel can also strain muscles and joints and cause lower back pain.

How to Avoid Injuries: Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice and use a shovel with a longer shaft that allows you to keep your back straight. The CDC also notes that you can avoid twisting your body if you step in the direction that you're throwing snow. Of course, if you experience chest pain or shortness of breath while shoveling, call 911 immediately.

Holiday Decorating

Putting up sparkling lights and other decorations is part of the fun of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the holidays won't be quite as enjoyable if you fall off a ladder. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 200 decorating injuries happen every day during the holidays. Many of them involve falls.

How to Avoid Injuries: Use caution when standing on ladders to string lights or add decorations to your roof. Don't stand on the top rung, ask someone to hold the ladder, and don't reach too far when you're on the ladder. Keep three of your four limbs on the ladder at all times to avoid losing your balance.

Walking

Even walking can become a risky activity during the winter. Patches of ice and puddles from melting snow make it easy to slip and fall.

How to Avoid Injuries: Wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles to improve traction. Add cleats around your boots if you'll be hiking or walking in potentially slippery conditions. Use salt or ice melt to reduce icy spots on stairs, porches, driveways, and sidewalks. If you run for exercise, schedule your runs for the middle of the day when temperatures are higher, or work out on a treadmill instead.

Family Time

Does your family enjoy playing board games or building puzzles on cold winter evenings? Unfortunately, these activities can also lead to aches and pains after a few hours. Remaining in one position for too long can cause muscle fatigue and strain your spine, muscles, and ligaments.

How to Avoid Injuries: Take frequent breaks and pay attention to your posture to prevent injuries. When you sit, keep your knees at the same level as your hips or lower, while keeping your forearms parallel to the ground. The ACA recommends choosing a chair that adequately supports your back and using a footrest if your feet don't touch the ground.

If you do experience injuries, aches, or pains, give us a call. Chiropractic treatment can relieve your pain naturally and help you recover from injuries more quickly. We offer a variety of helpful treatments, including spinal manipulation and mobilization, massage, soft tissue mobilization, and more. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Digging Out: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Health to Shovel Snow, 2/13/19

Newswise: Chiropractors Stress Injury Prevention by Warming Up Prior to Winter Activities, 2/3/17

American Chiropractic Association: Maintaining Good Posture

Consumer Product Safety Commission: Home Safe Home for the Holidays: CPSC and Interior Designer Sabrina Soto Share Holiday Safety Tips This Season, 11/20/19

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