Coloradoans love winter sports! It’s no wonder, with the majestic Rocky Mountains just minutes from our doorsteps and some of the best skiing in the world just an hour away. Our Colorado ski resorts see millions of visitors every year (more than 13 million some years!), but with all of those visitors to the snowy slopes, there are bound to be a few injuries. Some of those injuries can be severe, especially if they affect your neck and back. If you love to go snowboarding or skiing and live for the first day of the season, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself from injury so you don’t have to make an appointment with our spine surgeon in Johnstown later on. Here are some tips to help you stay safe out on the slopes.
Tips for Avoiding Winter Sports Injuries to Your Back and Neck
Exercise in the offseason.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from injury is to ensure your body is in good physical condition before you hit the slopes. Don’t let the warmer weather be your excuse to stop getting exercise. When you keep your muscles strong and toned, they’ll be better able to protect your body from injury when you are out on the slopes.
Treat snow sports like other sports.
Skiing and snowboarding are sports and should be treated that way. That means you should be warming up and cooling down just like you would do when participating in other physical activities like yoga, swimming or running. Stretch before you hit the slopes and give your body a cool down period as well. This will help prevent strains and sprains to the muscles in your next and back.
Consider wearing back protection.
Helmets gained in popularity on the slopes over the last decade and now you’ll see people wearing them more often than not. The next piece of protective equipment you should consider adding to your winter gear is back protection. These back shields help absorb impact when you fall or suffer a collision of some sort. The rigid material also helps to stabilize your spinal cord, which is great for all skiers but could be even more important for those who have suffered from injuries in the past.
There is a right way to fall and a wrong way to fall; make sure you know the difference. The right way to fall out on the slopes is to tuck your arms, legs, and head. This will protect most of your vital areas and lessen the impact on your body. Try to avoid falling onto your hands. It’s our natural instinct to reach out and try to catch ourselves, but this can actually end up causing more neck and back damage by jarring your spine.
Take time out to heal.
Finally, don’t push yourself to get back out on the slopes too quickly after an injury. Give your body time to rest and repair itself. That doesn’t mean you should stop all physical activity; just take it slow and stop if anything hurts.
Need more advice on how to stay safe during your favorite winter activities? Or suffering from an injury to your back or neck? Our spine surgeon in Johnstown may be able to help. Get in touch with our office to make an appointment with ClinTech today.