Becoming a couch potato isn't the only way to prevent aches and pains this winter. Making a few changes to your usual routine will reduce your risk of injury when participating in these winter activities.
Sports can take a toll on your body. Falls and collisions can cause fractures, dislocations, and cuts, but those aren't the only injuries you need to worry about. Back and neck pain, sprains, strains, spinal misalignments, and muscle spasms can happen even if a fall seems fairly minor.
How to Avoid Injuries: The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends warming up with squats, lunges, and jumping jacks before you venture outside. Warming up improves flexibility, which can help you avoid ending the day with a heating pad on your back.
Snow may look light and fluffy, but the white stuff can be surprisingly heavy. In fact, each shovelful may weigh several pounds. Twisting when you shovel can also strain muscles and joints and cause lower back pain.
How to Avoid Injuries: Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice and use a shovel with a longer shaft that allows you to keep your back straight. The CDC also notes that you can avoid twisting your body if you step in the direction that you're throwing snow. Of course, if you experience chest pain or shortness of breath while shoveling, call 911 immediately.
Putting up sparkling lights and other decorations is part of the fun of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the holidays won't be quite as enjoyable if you fall off a ladder. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 200 decorating injuries happen every day during the holidays. Many of them involve falls.
How to Avoid Injuries: Use caution when standing on ladders to string lights or add decorations to your roof. Don't stand on the top rung, ask someone to hold the ladder, and don't reach too far when you're on the ladder. Keep three of your four limbs on the ladder at all times to avoid losing your balance.
Dr. Tony Hemphill, DC