Avoiding back injuries in the winter

How to Avoid Back Pain in the Winter

First of all, considering that almost 85% of Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime, if you can get through this winter without at least a twinge, you’re lucky.

But whether you suffer chronic back pain or have only felt the occasional spasm or ache, winter is a time of high risk for back pain.

9 Reasons That Contribute To Back Paing:

1. Cold Weather

Lower temperatures cause your muscles to stiffen, which can make movement more difficult and somewhat painful.

2. Less Exercise

We simply are not as active in winter and that contributes to two factors that can cause back pain. First, when your body tries to move after periods of inactivity, there is higher risk of a strain. Second, inactivity leads to weight gain and the extra weight puts extra stress on your back.

3. Heavy Lifting

Whether yours is a physical job, or you sit at a desk all day, when the snow falls and you try to clear it, improper lifting and heavy loads can hurt your back.

4. Walking on Snow and Ice

We’ve just spent the summer walking on solid ground. When you start walking on slippery winter surfaces, you can slip or fall – and twist your back when you do.

Knowing the reasons for the higher risk of back pain in winter is the first step in decreasing your chances of experiencing it. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll know to take the following precautions at the right times:

5. Warm Up Your Muscles Before Outdoor Activity

Before you go out for a walk or to clear the snow, do some stretches and bends inside to get your muscles ready for the cold temperatures and extra work.

6. Pace Yourself

In summer, it’s not a problem to head out for a quick jog. But between walking and/or running on slippery surfaces, and trying to get the driveway shoveled faster, winter carries the risk of overdoing your activity and hurting your back.

7. Dress Properly

Have you ever gone out on a cold day in a light coat? All you can think of is getting to a warmer place. So you start walking faster, or talking shortcuts in whatever you’re doing, all of which can contribute to injury risk factors. Making sure you have the proper footwear will also help you avoid slips and falls.

8. Find Time for Exercise

Whether you stand and stretch during TV commercials or get out to your local community gym for a more formal workout program, more exercise will decrease your chance of more back pain.

9. Think About You Back

In everything you do in winter, think about how it will affect your back. Walking on ice? If you don’t step gingerly, you might hurt your back. Shoveling snow? Using a smaller shovel will help reduce the amount of snow you push and lift.

You risk suffering other injuries and pain in winter, including to your knee and neck. You can use many of the tips above to reduce your risk of suffering from any of them.

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