We all know the cold can be hard on your body and that includes your spine. There are so many hazards out there at this time of year – slippery, icy sidewalks are one, but road conditions can be bad and can mean potential collisions. And if you’re a winter sports fan, your risk factor rises exponentially.
Let’s review some tips to protect your spine in cold weather to keep you off the casualty list.
Check in with the Doc
If you’ve got big plans to hit the slopes this winter, or to go skating or snowboarding, then it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before throwing yourself into any of these activities.
If you have an old injury, a fall on the ice or on the ski hill can cause re-injury. Let’s face it, winter sports are risky. We suppose that’s part of the fun. But is it worth messing yourself up for a few runs down the mountain? Do you really need to demonstrate your flying axel from when you were in skate club as a teen?
Check in with your primary care giver to ensure that you’re good to go and that there are no precautions you should be aware of. This is important if you have spinal stenosis, as it can affect sensation in the feet. That sensation supports balance (something you don’t want to lose on the ice or the ski hill).
Pack on the Layers
Keeping your body warm while you’re outdoors is important. Dressing in layers helps you move between a variety of environments (the car to the office, the office to the coffee shop) without either sweating or freezing.
Those layers can also help your heart, when the weather’s cold. When you’re not properly dressed for the weather, you get chilled, forcing the heart to pump blood to the places in need of help. Your body’s response to the cold is a distress signal and your heart answering it can create an undue burden on the cardiovascular system.
The right footwear is essential in winter. It’s not always going to look as sleek and elegant as you might like but keeping warm and protecting your spine are what you’re concerned with.
Shoes with soles offering a better grip on the snow is what you’re after. Go for the treads. Lumberjacks wear that style of footwear for their cold day’s work for good reason. It keeps them from slipping and falling.
It doesn’t matter if you just hit the slopes last week or if you haven’t since 1999. You need to warm up. Even Olympic athletes need to warm up and stretch.
You need your muscles to be loose and warm before any strenuous activity. Spend some time thinking about how you’ll warm up before your favorite winter activity, then set a regime of about 10-15 minutes every time you get out there.
Spine Consult NJ treats all conditions of the spine with a comprehensive range of treatments. Contact us for more information.