How to Recover from Winter Injuries
- Category: Short-Term Rehab
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Cold weather and heavy snow can make winter a hazardous season. People commonly fall, strain muscles, or deal with chronic pain flare-ups when temperatures drop and conditions become slippery. Read on to learn how to treat and prevent these common wintertime injuries and how physical therapy can help.
Slips and falls
Winter weather can create many walking hazards, including icy sidewalks, wet and slippery surfaces, and piles of snow. The waning hours of daylight can also create more risks if walkways are not well-lit. Older adults are particularly at risk for serious injury after sustaining a fall, such as a broken hip. However, people of any age can experience a broken bone, sprain, or pulled muscle as a result of a fall.
Recovering from a fall injury will depend on its severity, but applying heat or ice and taking an anti-inflammatory can help alleviate pain from a minor pulled muscle or strain. For more serious injuries, inpatient or outpatient physical therapy may be necessary to regain full mobility and promote healing.
Back and neck pain
Cold temperatures can cause muscles to contract, which reduces blood circulation and increases stiffness. Tense muscles can also put strain on your spine, leading to increased pain and soreness in your back and neck. Poor posture in the winter, which results from hunching or slumping forward in an effort to stay warm, or reduced exercise and activity levels because of the cold, may also contribute to increased aches and pain. Add on all holiday stress and it’s no wonder back and neck pain are exacerbated in the winter.
Combat back and neck pain by regularly stretching, applying hot or cold compresses, or considering outpatient physical therapy to help you move better and feel better. Expert physical therapists provide professional guidance so that you can learn the most-effective stretching exercises, employ effective techniques such as massage, and use state-of-the-art equipment to eliminate persistent back and neck pain quickly.
Pulled muscles are increasingly common during the winter because of the daunting chore of shoveling snow – the task is responsible for thousands of injuries each year. Lifting and hauling heavy, wet snow can result in painful strained muscles – especially because our muscles are especially tight and tense in the cold, winter temperatures already.
Strained muscles can be healed with hot or cold compresses, anti-inflammatories, rest, and elevation of the strained area. If the pain persists, consider outpatient physical therapy to help your injury heal.
Winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing, can result in painful falls, broken bones, sprains, and pulled muscles. If you’re an avid winter athlete, staying in top physical condition, preventing injuries, and properly treating any strains or sprains is essential to ensure you are able to continue enjoying your favorite sport. Outpatient physical therapy services can not only help you heal from injuries; they also can help keep future injuries at bay by teaching you how to properly move your body, improving your balance, and ensuring your muscles are well-stretched before playing your any athletic winter activity.
Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation at Christian Health
If you need inpatient or outpatient physical therapy following a winter injury, our inpatient center, Bolger Short-Term Rehabilitation, and our Outpatient Rehabilitation center both have experienced therapists, state-of-the-art technology, and a safe, clean environment to help you successfully recover and get back to wellness. Learn more about how we can help you reach your goals today.