Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care, and as the seasons change, your chances of developing acute back pain may go up. Typically, the majority of back pain flairs are acute and self-limiting. The most common type of acute back pain is a lumbar strain, which is a muscle strain of your low back muscles. These muscles are strong and have many attachments to your spine and pelvis. Therefore, when they are injured, the pain can be debilitating. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent it from happening to you.
Some of the common reasons people experience acute low back pain in the fall and winter seasons:
- Bending and twisting activities
- Slips and falls
- Lack of Exercise
Bending and Twisting
Fall is almost over which means raking up leaves, and winter is right behind it with the shoveling of snow. These two activities involve repetitive bending and twisting which can be painful to your low back. They are physically demanding activities and can easily lead to sprains or strains of your low back muscles.
- Warm up your muscles with some light stretching and light lifting before heading outside.
- Take your time! Pace yourself and take breaks. Even if it takes longer, your back will feel less pain and strain.
- Wear the right gear and use proper form.
Slips and Falls
Cold temps and snow on the ground can lead to slick sidewalks and ice-covered surfaces. Acute injuries from slips and falls can range from simple sprains to fractures of the spine and tailbone. The force of your body falling onto the ice-covered ground can be significant.
Avoiding slips and falls checklist:
- Wear sensible footwear. Traction is key!
- Watch where you are going and limit walking distractions.
- Be careful and think about ice under snowy surfaces, which is common in Colorado!
Lack of Exercise
For many adults the fall and winter are the season of football on the couch and holidays that include a lot of eating and drinking. This season, make it a priority to keep up the summer workout regimen you have been working so hard on. As we spend more time indoors, it leads to less overall activity. Replace your summer sports and hot girl walks with other activities you can do indoors. It has been shown that lack of exercise leaves your body vulnerable to acute low back pain.
Staying active checklist:
- Find a home exercise program to keep your back strong
- Utilize public spaces to walk (like a mall) or join a gym
- Use commercial breaks to stand and stretch or do a home exercise
How physical therapy can help
Our physical therapists are experts at improving and restoring mobility to reduce low back pain—in many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.
If you are having low back pain right now:
Stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible (bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow down your recovery.
If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist. Since not all back pain is the same, our therapists can identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem and design an individualized treatment plan for your pain. No one should suffer through back pain, give us a call and we can even schedule you for a free consultation!