As winter arrives, instances of lower back pain tend to increase. Reasons for this include increased muscle stiffness due to colder temperatures and activities specific to winter like sledding and snow shoveling that can be lead to back strain. Consequently, it helps to know how to better prepare your back for winter to reduce the risk of injury and pain.
According to local spine surgeons, when it’s cold, nerve endings become increasingly sensitive, so occasional lower back pain from existing conditions can become more intense. Counter the impact of the cold by dressing warmly when going outside. You can always take off a few layers if it warms up.
Warm Up Muscles
Another step you can take to reduce muscle stiffness in winter is to do some light exercise. Basic warm-ups like stretching before heading outside for extended periods of time can also help prevent lower back pain.
Pace Yourself with Snow Removal
While you can’t always avoid winter storms, there’s no reason to dive in without a break when you need to shovel what Mother Nature has left behind. When shoveling, remember to:
• Use a shovel with a curved or adjustable handle
• Take frequent breaks if you have a lot of shoveling to do
• Bend at the hips and bend your knees to lift with your leg muscles
• Lift smaller amounts of snow or push the snow with the shovel, when possible
Avoid Slips and Falls
Warming and cooling cycles can lead to slick sidewalks with icy spots, and the rains from El Nino are sure to make walkways slippery. A hard or sudden fall can easily cause sprains and even fractures, so consider the following precautions:
• Wear shoes or boots with good traction
• Pay attention to where you walk by putting away your devices and other possible distractions
• Walk slowly if you’re making your way up or down a hill, or use trees, fences, or railings for support
Avoid lower back pain by finding the right balance during the winter months. Stay active indoors as much as possible, while also take precautions when outdoors. If you do experience lower back pain, hot and cold therapy and a little rest can help. Should pain persist, see your doctor.
If you do experience a freak winter accident that’s left you in serious pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced back doctor in Beverly Hills. At The Spine Institute, our experienced team of physicians can diagnose the origin of your pain help identify treatment options, from conservative methods like acupuncture to more serious possibilities like decompression spine surgery. Call today at (310) 828-7757. Your path to relief starts here.