Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 8, 2016
Winter is coming, and parts of Minnesota are already dealing with snow and ice. The snowy months are often some of the most beautiful months in Minnesota, but they can also lead to additional problems for our spine. As we detailed in a blog post earlier this week, the cold temperatures can cause issues with some of the internal structures in our spine, but winter also brings some challenges for our spines. Today, we look at three winter activities that can increase your risk of suffering a back injury.
Hanging Holiday Decorations
Whether you’re climbing up on the roof to hang lights, or you’re up on a ladder trying to get the star to look just right at the top of the tree, any time you add heights to the equation, your spine is at risk. If you wait until snow is on the ground to get the lights up, you may not have a good base to stabilize your ladder, and when people fall, they oftentimes injure their neck or spine. Whenever you’re going up on a ladder this season, always be sure to have a spotter to ensure the ladder doesn’t shift while you’re up on it.
Slipping on Ice and Snow
Falling from a ladder is one way to get injured this season, but many more people end up in the emergency room because they slipped on snow and ice. The best way to avoid a slip and fall injury during the winter is to invest in a highly-rated slip resistant snow boot and to apply salt or sand to your driveway and sidewalk. Always watch where you’re walking in the winter, and walk with care, because if your feet slip out forward, the first thing that’s going to hit the ground is your back. Aside from slips while walking, some people fall and injure their back while participating in winter sports like skiing, snowboarding or ice skating. Always wear gear that fits properly, as this will increase your stability and decrease your likelihood of a fall, and stay within your limits when on the ice or snow!
Removing snow from driveways and sidewalks is another common way that people throw out their backs in the winter. Oftentimes these injuries are in the form of a bulging or herniated disc, and trying to power through the injury only makes it worse. If you have a pre-existing back condition, we advise that you invest in a snowblower to help move the snow without overstressing your spine, or have neighbors or a snow shoveling service lend a hand. If you plan on removing the snow the old fashioned way, consider these tips: always stretch your muscles and allow your body to warm up before heading out the shovel snow, invest in a long-handled shovel so you don’t need to hunch over to dig up the snow, and lift and toss the snow with the assistance of your knees, not your spine. By keeping those tips in mind, and by taking care this winter, we know you’ll be able to keep your spine healthy this holiday season.