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How to Prevent Winter Backaches and Pains

winter back painWinter woes come from more than just the cold. Cold and damp weather can increase arthritis aches and pains, and winter activities can have an effect, too.

Avoid slips and falls

As the temperature drops, so will the leaves and eventually the snow, causing the ground to become more slippery. Slick sidewalks and ice-covered surfaces, especially black ice, are common culprits for acute injuries from slips and falls. These injuries can range from simple sprains to spine and tailbone fractures. Ideally falling would be nothing more than a bruise to your ego, but always be sure to see a doctor if you develop radiating pain or numbness below the waist to rule out serious injuries. Wearing proper footwear, such as rubber-soled shoes to provide traction and support, will help you stand your ground.

Maintain upright posture

Raking leaves or shoveling snow both involve repeatedly bending and twisting your lower back. If you’re headed outside to shovel, avoid stiff muscles by stretching beforehand. Clearing the sidewalks and driveways can also be prone to exacerbating back pain, so pace yourself with frequent breaks and slow down by lifting with your legs. Also, when shoveling snow, take smaller portions with each shovel since the snow is heavy.

Try heat therapy

While there is not much evidence to support the claim that seasonal weather changes affect your muscles, keeping your muscles warm and limber in the cooler temperatures will help prevent you from feeling tight and prone to injury. Promote healing and decrease muscle stiffness by increasing circulation through heat therapy. For instance, apply a warm towel or heating pad to a painful area for temporary relief. If you have access to an indoor pool, try swimming a few times a week or soak in a whirlpool or warm bath.

Keep up with exercise

In a season filled with reasons to stay indoors, such as football, get-togethers, and holiday shopping, many adults begin to forgo the workout regimen they used to during the summer. Replace outdoor summer sports or jogging routines easily by using commercial breaks to do at-home exercises. If you are out shopping for holiday gifts, take an extra brisk lap or two around the mall.

Have you experienced winter weather backaches and pains? Share what you do to keep your muscles warmed up at home on Facebook.