Are you a winter sports enthusiast? Like so many Long Islanders this time of year, you may be planning your next trip into the snowy mountains for skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing. Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness hopes you have a fun and safe season on the slopes. Unfortunately, participating in these and other winter sports can take a toll on your back so we advise following these tips to protect yourself.
Top Reasons Back Injuries Happen While Skiing or Snowboarding
Spine-health.com lists these particular activities as the main causes of back injury from winter sports, skiing in particular:
- Heavy gear – Carrying heavy skis, boots, and other equipment can be awkward and lead to lower back strain.
- Falling – Falling while skiing can injure or stress the spine and the soft tissue surrounding the spine. Bracing yourself or self-correcting to avoid a fall can also lead to a lower or mid-back injury.
- Moguls – Skiing over bumpy terrain can be particularly jarring to the spine and the surrounding soft tissue.
- Simply Overdoing It – While skiing, the body’s core muscles, lower back muscles, and abdominal muscles keep the body in the proper form. You need to keep your core in shape. Even if you are in great shape, if it’s been a while since you’ve hit the slopes, you could hurt your back.
- Muscle Imbalance – If you ski or snowboard a lot, or race in particular, you will use your quad and back muscles more than your hamstrings and abdominal muscles. This creates an imbalance and your risk for pain increases.
How to Avoid or Reduce Risk of Back Injury
As with all sports, there is always risk of injury. Here are some tips on how to minimize your risk:
- Focus on strengthening your core muscles and keeping proper muscle balance. If you do not already exercise routinely, begin preparing by exercising at least six weeks before you plan to hit the slopes.
- Take a warm-up run down an easier hill before skiing on more challenging terrain.
- Know and follow the safety rules of the activity.
- Learn how to fall. It’s worth taking a lesson from a trained instructor on how to fall correctly
- Make sure your equipment is in good condition.
- Ski only on slopes that fit your ability level.
- Stop when you feel tired.
- Wear protective gear, such as helmets, goggles, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads. Dress appropriately for the weather to keep your body temperature in the normal range. The National Ski Patrol recommends layers.
- Eat well, get enough rest, and stay well hydrated.
What to Do If You Injure Your Back
- Think twice about taking pain medication to continue participating in the activity. According to skimag.com, many people take medication, then they feel better and continue, consequently making the condition worse.
- Please consult with your primary care physician or chiropractor and follow their instructions.
- Ice any painful areas or spend some time in a hot tub to ease muscle pain.
Turn to Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness for Help
If you injure your back while skiing or snowboarding this season, Dr. Goldman can help. He will assess your situation and create a treatment plan to get you back on the slopes. Depending upon the severity of your pain and your overall physical condition, you may be back on your skis sooner than you think! Give us a call today at (631) 447-2299 to make an appointment.