Bad Luck…or Just Bad Preparation?

With the winter upon us, how can you avoid unnecessary back pain this winter – What do Chiropractors and Osteopaths say?

  1. An obvious one, but one often overlooked – Salt your drive before the snow comes. If snow has salt underneath it, it will stop any thawing snow refreezing as ice at night. Top tip: did you know that, if you use dishwasher salt it won’t make such a mess of your carpets!
  2. Buy yourself some walking shoe crampons/studs to give yourself additional traction on the ice. These can often be inexpensively purchased from camping shops or online.
  3. When snow shovelling to clear paths, push using alternate arms, or, better still, put the handle over the breastbone and push centrally. This way, you won’t strain one side of your back continually – most back pain is caused by asymmetry in your movements or posture.
  4. Keep your back muscles and leg muscles warm. When muscles are cold, they become less pliable, so are more easily strained. Keeping them well stretched, wearing enough clothes (layers are best) and keeping the rooms in your house warm will all help to avoid your muscles stiffening. Tight leg muscles have a big part to play in causing back pain, so pay attention to stretching your legs. To have any effect, a muscle needs to be stretched for at least 15 seconds, 3x/day. Also, keeping up your water intake (2L per day!) and a daily magnesium supplement (as long as you have no conflicting medications or conditions) can all reduce cramping and muscle spasms. You might also think about having a deep tissue Massage to help keep the muscles pliable.
  5. Keep moving! Those Christmas movies and board games are great, but make sure you don’t remain inactive for too long. Get plenty of fresh air and exercise. “Inactivity is one of the main precursors to back pain that we see at our clinic in Elstead.”, explains Mike Stockbridge, Principal Chiropractor at Elstead Chiropractic and Therapies Clinic.
  6. Keep your spine in optimum condition – Get your back, neck and joints checked out regularly with a 3-monthly preventative chiropractic or osteopathic appointment.