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It’s common for back pain to occur during the winter months, which can cause you considerable discomfort all season long. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent back pain. Understanding why this happens and what you can do about it will help you enjoy a pain-free winter.

Causes of Winter Back Pain

Why does pain flare up during winter? It can happen for a number of reasons. Some of them include the following:

Cold. When temperatures drop, your back muscles lose some of their flexibility and become stiff. This makes it harder for you to bend or lean without experiencing discomfort. Colder temperatures are also associated with an increased risk of inflammation in your joints, including your back. This is especially true if you have a condition that causes joint inflammation, such as arthritis, or if you have an old back injury or spinal disc problems.

Falls. Walking around on slippery sidewalks and walkways covered in snow or ice can cause you to fall and land on your back. You might also twist your back and hurt yourself while you’re falling.

Overuse. Shoveling snow is a job that requires a significant amount of physical effort, especially if you’re lifting heavy amounts of snow. Picking up the snow with your shovel, then tossing it to the side can put a high amount of strain on your back muscles, which can cause back pain to occur.

Preventing Back Pain in Winter

There are several ways to lower your risk of back pain during winter. While you can’t do much about the temperatures outside, you can make sure that your back will be able to handle them. You can prevent this kind of pain in the following ways:

Exercise Regularly. Many people aren’t as physically active during winter, but don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Instead, make it a habit to work out each day for at least 30 minutes. Regular exercise helps keep your muscles in shape, which lowers your risk of back pain. Focus on doing exercises that target your back muscles to help them stay flexible, such as stretching.

Shovel Snow the Smart Way. If you have to shovel snow, don’t lift heavy amounts at once. Lift smaller amounts, and remember to lift with your knees rather than your back. If possible, push the snow with your shovel instead of lifting it up, which puts far less strain on your back muscles. Take frequent breaks, especially if you have a lot of snow to shovel. If you have a back problem, ask a friend, neighbor or family member to shovel for you.

Walk with Care. Reduce your risk of falling on slippery sidewalks by wearing boots that provide you with traction. If you have walkways or sidewalks on your property, keep them free of snow and ice as much as possible.

If you have recurring back pain this season, contact us at Capital City Neurosurgery to set up an appointment. We can help eliminate your back pain so you can enjoy winter again!