Back Pain in fall and winter months
As the season’s change and fall turns to winter your chances of developing acute back pain may go up. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it from happening to you.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. Typically, the majority of back pain flairs are acute and self-limiting. The most common type of acute back pain is a lumbar strain, which is a muscle strain of your low back muscles. These muscles are strong and have many attachments to your spine and pelvis. Therefore, when they are injured the pain can be severe and debilitating.
Some of the common reasons people experience acute low back pain in the fall and winter seasons
• Bending and twisting activities (Raking leaves, snow shoveling… I know, it hurts to even think about!)
• Slips and falls
• Lack of Exercise
As the temperature drops, the leaves will change color and begin to fall to the ground. Then winter will come, and snow will fall. Leaves will need to be raked and the snow shoveled for many months toocome.
These two activities involve repetitive bending and twisting and can be painful to your low back. They are physically demanding activities and can easily lead to sprains or strains of your low back muscles.
To avoid low back pain while raking and shoveling remember to:
• Warm up your muscles with some light stretching and light lifting before heading outside.
• Take your time. Pace yourself and take breaks. It may take longer but your back will feel much less pain and strain.
• Wear the right gear and use proper form.
Slips and Falls
Cold temps and snow on the ground can lead to slick sidewalks and ice-covered surfaces. Acute injuries from slips and falls can range from simple sprains to fractures of the spine and tailbone. The force of your body falling onto the ice-covered ground can be significant.
To avoid slips and falls during the winter months remember to:
• Wear sensible footwear. (Ladies, we are watching you. Heels do not provide traction. Ever.)
• Watch where you are going. Limit walking distractions.
• Be careful and think about ice under snowy surfaces.
Lack of Exercise
For many adults, the fall and winter are the seasons of football on the couch and holidays that include a lot of eating and drinking. This season makes it a priority to keep up the summer workout regimen you have been working so hard on. The weather is going to get cold, and as we spend more time indoors, it leads to less overall activity. Gone will be the summer sports, walks, and outdoor activities we love. Replace them with other activities you can do indoors. Join a gym or walk around the mall. It has been shown that lack of exercise leaves your body vulnerable to acute low back pain.
Stay active during the long cold season and remember to:
• Find a home exercise program to keep your back strong.
• Utilize public places to walk in or take advantage of the activity programs they offer.
• Use commercial breaks to stand and stretch or do a home exercise.
• Avoid overeating during the holidays. Keep a winter food journal to keep yourself in check.
Physical Therapy Can Help
Our physical therapists can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back pain in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.
If you are having low back pain right now:
Stay active and do as much of your normal routine as possible (bed rest for longer than a day can slow down your recovery.
If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist. Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment will be tailored to your specific symptoms and condition. Our physical therapists specialize in back pain and can identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem and design an individualized treatment plan for your specific problem and pain area.
Don’t suffer through back pain.
We can absolutely help you. Call today!