In North Dakota we experience the freezing temps and snow all too often. Between falling on ice to shoveling 12” of snow, our bodies are prone to becoming injured throughout winter. We also might feel achier in our joints or feel we become stiffer and tighter over the long winter seasons. There are reasons for this!
When the fluids in the body are introduced to cold temperatures, they tend to thicken up. This same thing happens to the fluid in joints during winter. The fluid in joints tend to move less freely therefore causing the joints to become stiff and tight.
As the weather becomes colder the atmospheric pressure drops. When the pressure drops it causes the bodies tissues to expand causing body aches some people feel when the temperature becomes colder or a winter blizzard is rolling in.
When it’s cold we are less inclined to stay active and get outside for activities. This means those joints are not being used as much which can cause stiffness and body achiness.
Falls on the ice can be serious. Most of the time when we fall, we either reach our arms out or fall on our bottoms. Either one of these can cause injuries and cause pain in the midback, low back, arms, or legs. There is also the type of fall where you are able to catch yourself before you hit the ground, thinking that you’re in the clear from causing an injury. Unfortunately, later you might feel pain due to the unnatural quick movement you used to catch yourself.
A few tips to avoid slipping on ice:
- wear footwear with grip or treads
- walk in small steps
- walk cautiously
- keep your hands out of your pockets, they help you balance
- look ahead and watch where you are walking
When we shovel our body is put in vulnerable positions that we are not used to doing on a day to day basis. This can cause us to move and lift in a wrong way that causes pain and potential injury.
The proper way to shovel is to push the snow in front of you and walk it to the snowbank. Do not try to lift and throw the snow because as you twist it can cause muscle strains, spasms, or injuries. If you are to try and lift, make sure to bend your knees allowing your arms and legs to do the work, NOT your back. Check out a past video that demonstrates how to shovel properly.
If you are experiencing any aches and pains due to the cold winter, have pain from shoveling, or have taken a fall lately, don’t hesitate to call us. We would love to help you move better, feel better, and be a better you.
-Kinzie Koch, DC