As we enter into the colder months, many people experiencing back pain struggle during this time as the drop in temperature can lead to an increase in pain. Here are 10 tips for preventing spinal pain this winter.
1. Stay Active
While it can be easy to not exercise during the colder months, staying active is key to keeping your back healthy and strong. Regular exercises can help improve posture, strength, and flexibility, all of which are important for preventing spinal pain. Keeping active during the winter can also increase blood flow which helps keep muscles and joints warm and reduces stiffness. If you have trouble staying active, visiting a physical therapist can help with muscle tension and reduce pain.
2. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important all year round, particularly in the winter months. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your spine and back muscles healthy and flexible as well as reduce inflammation. Water helps to lubricate the joints, which is important for preventing spinal pain.
3. Dress Accordingly
Dressing appropriately for cold weather is essential in preventing spinal pain. Ensuring your clothing fits correctly and isn’t too tight or restricting can help reduce tension on your spine as well as protect it from cold temperatures and wind. Layering clothes can also help to keep you warm without compromising your posture or flexibility. Wearing proper shoes can also help avoid slipping and falling and further injuring your spine.
4. Eat A Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet can help to keep your back healthy and strong during the winter months. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats helps ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can also help reduce inflammation and pain in your spine. Additionally, try avoiding alcohol and processed foods that may cause inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight can help chronic back pain and decrease risk factors.
5. Stay Warm
In cold weather, it is beneficial for your spine to stay inside and remain warm to avoid your muscles contracting. However, if you do need to go outside, make sure to bundle up with hats, gloves, and warm clothing. Be careful when walking on icy surfaces and try to limit your exposure to cold temperatures. Additionally, make sure that your home is kept at a comfortable temperature so as not to cause increased pain in your spine.
6. Stretch Regularly
To keep your muscles both loose and strong, it is recommended to stretch daily, even if you are not experiencing back pain. Sitting for extended periods of time can cause tension in your spine, so try to take regular breaks throughout the day and stretch. Regular stretching helps reduce tension in your back muscles and maintain flexibility. Some simple stretches you can do include neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, torso twists, and hamstring stretches. If you need help with proper stretching techniques, yoga classes can be beneficial.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for preventing spinal pain. Aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night in order to give your body time to heal and rest. Additionally, if you are struggling with back pain, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, as this can help reduce tension in the spine. Ensuring you have a proper mattress and pillows can also help provide the correct support your body needs.
8. Use Heat Therapy
Heat therapy, such as applying heating pads or taking warm baths, can help improve circulation and reduce stiffness in your spine. Heating the affected area helps relax muscles, increase flexibility, and reduce inflammation which can lead to increased comfort and improved mobility. Utilize heat therapy after spending time outside in the cold weather to avoid muscle stiffness and pain. However, be sure not to overdo it, as too much can cause further irritation.
9. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is important for keeping your back healthy and strong. Engaging in low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling helps to keep your muscles working without putting too much pressure on your spine. These exercises also help increase blood flow which can reduce inflammation and pain. Additionally, strengthening your core muscles will help provide additional support to your spine. It is recommended to speak with a doctor before starting any new exercise routine as they can provide advice tailored specifically to you and your needs.
10. Visit Your Doctor
If you are experiencing persistent back pain, it is important to visit your doctor for further evaluation. They can help diagnose any underlying issues, as well as provide more personalized treatment recommendations which may include physical therapy or medications. Additionally, they may suggest lifestyle changes that can help reduce your chronic pain in the long term.
If you're experiencing spinal pain this winter, contact Dr. Trevor Turner or schedule an appointment today.