Preventing Chronic Pain During the Frigid Winter Months The winter season is still upon us, and it looks as if it’ll be sticking around for quite some time. With all the snow shoveling, icy streets, and chilled weather still affecting us, the possibility of experiencing winter-related pain is still at large. All that shoveling can take a toll on your back and joints, the ice increases the possibility of slipping, and the frigid air can create aches and pains all on its own. Fortunately, our physical therapy treatments at Centra Rehabilitation can help correct the pain you may be feeling. If you’ve been experiencing discomfort due to winter-related activities, contact our office today!
Staying posture perfect in the winter: You may be wondering, “How can I find relief? – I need to shovel and I need to go outside, taking the risk of slipping…”This is a valid point. We can’t stay curled up in bed all winter, safe from the snow and ice (although we may all wish we could!) One of the most important things you can do to prevent your risk of pain or injury is maintaining proper posture. This is especially true when doing physically demanding activities, such as shoveling mountains of snow off the driveway or scraping persistent ice off the windshield. Shoveling: Let’s focus on shoveling. Much like any physical demand, it’ll help if you warmup beforehand. Stretching your arms, legs, and back will help loosen up your muscles before you begin and decrease your risk of sustaining an unnecessary injury. The posture you have while you’re shoveling is crucial to avoiding pain. It is important to keep your body straight, with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Make sure your knees are bent and your back is straight, with your dominant leg slightly in front. When shoveling, shift your weight fromyour back leg to your front. Maintain a straight body the entire time if possible, without twisting your hips or back. Here’s the most important part – ALWAYS lift with your legs instead of your back! Engage your core muscles in order to lift the snow with the weight of your legs, rather than your back. Lifting with your back is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lift anything of substantial weight. Your legs are stronger and can take on more weight, limiting the pain you’ll feel in them – if you lift with your back, you may feel sore or tight afterward, and you may even injure yourself. Icywalkways: The way youwalk can actually prevent your risk of accidentally slipping on ice. One of themost common injuries people sustain during the winter is a sprain, strain, or even fracture from an unexpected fall on ice. But there is a way to avoid it!
When walking on ice, one must “make like a penguin” in order to stay safe. First off, concentration is everything. When walking on icy or snowy terrain, it is important to be cautious and to simply walk – not walk and text, not walk and search through your purse, etc… simply walk. If you are careful and alert, you will be able to better steady yourself if you begin to slip. Wearing sturdy shoes with good traction, in order to decrease your likelihood of slipping. When walking, it is best to keep a slow pace with short steps. While it may seemnatural to stand upright, leaning a bit forward can help in keeping your balance and avoiding injury – think of it as if you’re doing more of a shuffle. Finally, keeping your arms slightly in front of you for balance purposes, and turning your feet slightly outward while walking on snow or ice. This footing, while it may feel a bit awkward, will actually increase traction and avoid slipping. Contact us today! If you still find yourself in a state of pain or discomfort after these tips, contact Centra Rehabilitation to schedule an appointment and find relief. Our dedicated physical therapists will create a treatment plan for relieving your pain and helping you get back to your winter activities in no time!
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