Up to 69% of Americans say that lower back pain affects their day-to-day lives, and many experience worsening symptoms due to the drop in temperature. And with all of the leaves to rake and snow to shovel, your chances of developing back strain and pain will increase. But before you hunker down on the couch and decide to hibernate to avoid injury, there are a few things you should know.
You must stretch and keep exercising
Between the cold weather and the abundance of holiday treats, it's easy to let your physical activity fall by the wayside during this time of year. But for the sake of your back, you'll need to make it a priority. You should always stretch to prepare yourself for the bending and twisting you may need to do when cleaning up your yard or clearing your driveway. And you should try your best to maintain a regular exercise program during the winter months. Even walking around a local community center track or the mall can help. In addition, listen to your body and take frequent breaks to reduce the risk of strain.
Remember to wear the right gear
Slips and falls are incredibly common during this time of year. If you want to avoid going to local urgent care clinics for medical help after a fall, wearing the right gear outdoors can help. Proper footwear, in particular, should be a top priority. You'll need a shoe or boot that has a rubber sole with good traction and provides excellent foot support. Make sure that the rest of your outerwear is in good condition as well, as the extra cushioning and warmth can protect your joints when you go outside.
Pay attention to your mood
When you're feeling cold, your muscles and ligaments tend to tighten up, which makes you more prone to injury and back pain. But did you know that the temperature might not be the only reason your back starts hurting in winter? Seasonal depression may also contribute to your pain level. If you're feeling down due to the lack of daylight or even holiday stress, you may be more sensitive to back pain. Those who know they are prone to getting the winter blues should be proactive during this time of year. Talk to your doctor and fill your days with enjoyable activities as a pre-emptive strike against winter woes.
Seek out early treatment or physical therapy options
If you have sustained major back injuries in the past and are afraid this winter might bring about more pain for you, you can also visit certain urgent care clinics for physical therapy purposes. Clinics that do offer physical therapy can provide you with further information (like certain stretches or movements to avoid) that can help you reduce your risk of injury.
For some people, back pain may seemingly come out of nowhere. But if you have a history of back injuries, you'll want to do everything you can to prevent further incidents. These tips may help you do just that this winter.