As the days grow shorter and colder, many of us fall into some less-than-healthy habits. We may not be bears, but the inclination to hibernate is very real. This means most of us want to hunker down in front of the fireplace and sip on some cocoa rather than get out and be active. The winter often brings an increase in back pain and other aches. Part of that number is those who take up cold weather activities, but just as many winter aches can come from inactivity. It’s not just taking a spill while ice skating or slipping on a patch of ice that are risky during the winter months, but also the sedentary habits many of us slip into when the cold weather blows in. This winter, whether you’re active every day or not, here are a few things to consider to help care for your spine.
Stretch Before Shoveling
Shoveling snow is a major contributor to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Before you go out to get the job done, take a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Stretching and loosening your muscles will help minimize the potential alignment issues that taut muscles and ligaments cause when they press against spine and joints.
In addition, you’ll want to watch your form when shoveling. If back pain is a concern, it’s definitely worth it to invest in an ergonomic snow shovel, which is designed to help keep your back straight and make it easier to lift with your legs, not your back. When shoveling, don’t try to load up the shovel; instead, go for smaller loads to keep the strain away.
Don’t Forget To Move
When you’re snuggled in by the fire for a long winter’s nap, it can be so cozy it’s hard to convince yourself to move. We understand. But most of us don’t have great posture when lounging on the couch, and staying in one position like that can cause strain to both soft tissue and to joints. The best thing you can do for your spine’s health is to find a way to keep up with a regular exercise and stretching routine. If not that, at least be sure to get up, move around, and stretch it out often throughout the day — at work, too, not just when you’re at home.
Buy Better Snow Boots
Here in Peoria, odds are pretty good that you’ll have to go tromping through the snow a time or two this winter. Snow boots are not all made the same. Not only do you want to be sure your snow-appropriate footwear has supportive insoles, but you’ll also want to make sure to look for a good tread. Better tread will help you get a grip when you walk, which will reduce the risk of slips, but it will also provide better stability and reduce the strain on your spine.
When you were young, a parent probably chastised you to bundle up before going out to play in the snow. Well, even into adulthood you should be taking that advice. The cold can make muscles tense up and stay stiff. Yes, even if you’re not going out in the snow in shorts and a t-shirt. If you’re looking for ways to protect your spine and joints during the winter, make a concerted effort to stay warm. Layer up, keep your home warm, add an extra blanket to your bed, and let your car run for a few minutes to warm up before you head to work.
Regular visits to your local chiropractor can also help you maintain good spine health all winter long. Chiropractors specialize in spine and joint health, so we can help ensure your spine is aligned properly. We can also work with a physical therapist, massage therapist, or other specialists to coordinate care and support better back health.
Whether you’re dealing with back pain or you’re looking for preventative measures, the team at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa can help. Meet with a chiropractor to look after your spine health and help your back pain. Schedule your consultation with our team in Peoria today and start this winter on a stronger footing for better back health.