The fall and winter months offer tons of leisure and recreational activities. Here are 5 ways to make sure your back stays healthy enough to enjoy them:
1. USE GOOD BODY MECHANICS.
What do you need for a successful morning of snow shoveling? Try a good pair of gloves, proper layers, sturdy boots, and good movement mechanics!
Excessive bending, lifting, and twisting can strain your back and put you at risk for injuries like muscle strains, joint subluxations, and disc herniations. Here are a few quick pointers:
- Warm up first, and take breaks throughout.
- Push (with a neutral spine) rather than lift as much as possible.
- Don’t overload your shovel, and walk to where you want to dump the snow (rather than throwing it).
- Bend with your knees and hips, not your back.
- Engage your abs.
2. KEEP EXERCISING!
Cold weather and less daylight makes it tempting to snuggle up on the couch. But our Ramsey team challenges you to stay active throughout the winter months.
Why? Being sedentary is one of the biggest causes of and risk factors for back pain. Appropriate exercise helps keeps postural muscles strong and enduring, blood flow circulating, and can even bolster your immune system.
Also keep in mind that if you’re participating in more intense seasonal sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and skating, be sure to warm-up well and use properly-fitting equipment.
3. MOVE WITH CAUTION.
Black ice, wet snow, and salt and sand can make surfaces more slippery during the fall and winter months. So, use caution when walking around town.
Give yourself extra time to get to places in order to avoid the temptation of running or rushing, wear appropriate footwear, and always use handrails when going up or down stairs to help you avoid an accidental trip and fall. If you’re a runner, you may need to sub the street with the treadmill or switch to some other low impact indoor exercise like spinning, swimming, or stair climbing.
While these few tips may seem like common sense, it’s pretty amazing just how easily we can take for granted our ability to move around in our day-to-day lives! That tiny effort it takes to move with care can really make a difference in your back health.
4. STAY HYDRATED.
The cold dry air tends to dehydrate our bodies, and we need adequate hydration in order to keep our tissues pliable and healthy. Drink plenty of water throughout the day (at least half your body weight in fluid ounces, and more if you’re highly active).
5. SEE A PROFESSIONAL IF YOUR BACK IS BOTHERING YOU.
Here in Northern New Jersey, our Ramsey orthopedic and physical therapy team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine is ready for a fun and healthy fall and winter season. If you’ve been dealing with a nagging back injury, or have any concerns about your spinal health as we enter the fall and winter season, now is the perfect time of year to schedule an appointment with one of our Ramsey pain management doctors.
Planning on having a healthy back for the holidays? We are too! Call our Ramsey pain management team at (201) 962-9199 to schedule your initial consultation.