Back Pain Prevention in Cold Weather

January 18, 2013

Unless you live in a warm climate where flowers still bloom and you can still enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, you may find that winter is just not the most pleasant season. First of all, winter limits the number of opportunities for outdoor activities like walking and cycling, which is good for our health. For many people, taking a walk in the winter is simply a dreadful thing to do. Second, the cold temperature tightens the muscle and can make the body ach. Moreover, there are many winter pitfalls that could easily cause back pain (eg, back pain from a fall caused by slipping on ice).

Here are a few tips for back pain prevention in winter.

Use proper body mechanics. Proper body mechanics should be practiced all the time, especially in winter. When shoveling snow, bend your knees and use your thighs to help lift the weight. Instead of throwing snow by twisting your waist, carry the snow to the site where you want to put the snow. If necessary, take periodic breaks so you don’t overwork your back.

Prevent slipping on ice. If you can, try to avoid walking on ice, period. Otherwise, take short steps and walk with caution. If your drive way is covered with ice, spread salt before you step on it. In addition, wearing shoes with thick tread can also help prevent slipping on ice.

Prevent winter vehicle crashes. Adverse weather conditions like snow can significantly increase motor vehicle crashes. If you have to drive on snowy days, drive cautiously, stay alert, and keep an adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Maintain a healthy life style. A healthy lifestyle is always a good back pain prevention tactic. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals that contain lots of vegetables and are rich in protein.

Continue exercising. When the weather permits, go outside and take a walk. If the weather is too bad to go outside, try indoor activities. Stretching alone can make you feel better and help prevent back pain. If you smoke, quitting smoking may be the best you can do to prevent or relieve back pain. Mounting evidence has shown links between smoking and chronic back pain.

Winter may not be the most enjoyable season, but it doesn't have to be painful. With precaution and extra care, you can avoid many of the winter pitfalls. Stay warm and take good care of yourself. We wish you a pain-free winter and good health throughout the year.