Prevent Low Back Pain from Skiing and Snowboarding
Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, are an excellent way to get fresh air and exercise during the cold winter months, but the low temperatures, icy surfaces and speed of these sports also can lead to more injuries. While skiing and snowboarding are more often associated with knee, ankle and upper body injuries, there also is risk of back injury.
Muscle strains are common, particularly in the lower back if your muscles are not conditioned, but the most common back injuries during winter sports occur while falling. Falls can jar and twist the spine in unnatural ways, putting stress on the surrounding muscles.
Not every injury is preventable, but these tips can greatly reduce your chance of leaving the slopes with back pain:
- Exercise regularly. Injury occurs most frequently when you are out of shape or out of practice. Give yourself a few weeks of preparation before jumping into winter sports. Focus on leg and core strength and balance.
- Dress appropriately. Wear clothing that will keep you warm and allow you to be flexible.
- Warm up. Warming up prior to physical activity is very important in cold weather. Take 5-10 minutes for light exercises, followed by gentle stretching.
- Learn how to fall. Our body’s impulse to self-correct during a fall can lead to muscle strains. When a fall can not be prevented, attempt to land on your bottom or your side and roll. Do not fight the fall.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Observe the location of hazards, like fences, trees and rocks, so they can be avoided. Stay on marked trails.
- Choose slopes wisely. It is better to err on the safe side when choosing slopes. Consider working with an instructor to improve your skills first.