Winter is on the way, and while we may be leaving behind warm weather and sunny skies, it’s crucial that we don’t forget to prepare ourselves for the cold and all that it brings. During this time of the year, our bodies are constantly put to the test, whether it be when doing activities or chores around the house, playing alongside the kids in the snow, or just how the body reacts to the cold, it is essential that we do whatever it takes to ensure the back stays happy and healthy during the frigid temperatures.
Spinal Care Tips & Exercises to Keep Your Back Healthy This Chicago Winter
Use Proper Body Mechanics
Harsh Illinois winters bring snow and a lot of it! That’s right, returning to the unwanted chore of leaving the house and shoveling. But you need to think more before you pick up that shovel. Here are some statistics to think about:
- Most injuries occur from overexertion while shoveling
- About 11,500 people are injured each year from shoveling snow
- Research shows that shovelers are encouraged to begin doing warm-up exercises.
So, what do you need for an injury-free time shoveling snow? Let’s grab a warm jacket, snow pants, gloves, boots with a good grip, and most importantly, practice excellent movement mechanics. Shoveling requires you to bend, lift, and constantly twist, putting your back at risk of strains and herniated discs. Always remember to:
- Push rather than lift as much as possible
- Try not to throw the snow, instead, walk to where you want to put it
- Bend with your knees and hips
- Do not use your back to lift; rely on your legs to do the grunt work
Exercises that are beneficial before shoveling are:
- Lower trunk rotations – Lay down and keep both knees bent, letting your knees fall side to side nice and easy.
- Knee to chest – While laying down, one knee stays bent and the other leg lays flat on the ground. Pull your knee as far as you can to your chest and hold it for 45-60 seconds, and then switch legs.
- Squats – Since you will be lifting and pushing using your legs, perform 10 to 20 squats to loosen them up.
Continue Your Physical Activity
The cold weather makes it less accessible to complete your daily exercise routine, especially if you prefer outside or home workouts over going to the gym. But, our expert team of chiropractors cannot stress enough the importance of staying active during the cold months. Being inactive is one of the leading causes and risk factors of spinal pain. Finding a way to stay active will boost your immune system, improve blood circulation, and help your muscles from becoming vulnerable. Whether it be shoveling snow and cleaning the roof or activities such as skiing and snowboarding, keeping active will ensure that you are healthy throughout the entire season.
Home exercises that are easy to perform are:
- Burpees – While they may not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, they are a part of a full-body workout. Burpees allow you to work many different parts of the body, keeping you fit and active.
- Sit-ups – A strong abdomen is an essential part of your physical well-being when performing daily activities.
- Jogging in place – It may not be anything like running through the beautiful Illinois landscape, but it helps you remain up to date with your cardio allowing you to have more energy.
We know that it may seem a bit obvious, but we are often underdressed to face the cold Illinois weather when we leave the house. Little do people know, but cold weather negatively affects the spine and neck, causing horrible pain and often leaving those suffering unable to get up in the morning and perform their day-to-day responsibilities. The reason for the discomfort strains from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons is tightening in response to the drop in temperatures. While we often hate taking a day off, it may be necessary. Patients who try to fight through the pain are often the victims of a more serious injury. So make sure to wear plenty of layers on your legs, torso, hands, and arms while also covering up your neck, face, and head.
When you are out in the cold, you can do these to help your body remain warm and limber:
- Neck Turns – To mobilize the spine and neck while you’re out, stop and do some neck turns. Carefully shake your head “no” from side to side, then shake your head “yes,” looking up and down.
- Hip Hinges – Do you remember this stretch that you always used to do in gym class or warmups before playing a game? While standing up straight, bend at the waist (do not round your back), push your hips out, and reach for your toes.
See a Chicago Doctor of Chiropractic Regularly, Especially When Your Spine Is Bothering You
As a community-focused chiropractic clinic in Chicago, we know better than most how essential it is to focus on your health during this season. For that reason, we cannot stress enough to our patients that when they feel even the slightest bit of fatigue, they see an expert right away. Not only will you feel better, but it will save you from even more excruciating and debilitating discomfort in the future.
At Advanced Spine & Sports Care, we work with each of our patients individually, using innovative techniques to properly stretch and liberate the spinal system. Some of our most groundbreaking chiropractic treatments include:
- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Spinal Decompression
- Preventive & Corrective Exercises
- EMS Therapy
- Physical Therapy
Ensure Your Spine is in the Best Shape this Winter and Contact Advanced Spine & Sports Care
Preventing and treating spinal pain in patients of all ages is our specialty, and with decades of experience doing it, we are the clinic to call in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. Discomfort in your back is never a joke and will keep you from functioning properly, outlining how crucial it is to seek immediate assistance even if you just tweak your back a little bit. Stay safe, practice these helpful tips, and contact Advanced Spine & Sports Care!