For the most part, slip and falls are accidents and are not easily preventable.  But even a slip without the fall can lead to some uncomfortable neck pain or back pain.  However, there are a few things you can do to prevent back pain and neck pain throughout the winter.

Keeping your Spine Safe

Prevent injury by walking like a penguin in Syracuse winter weather.
Walk like a penguin on ice.

Wearing proper shoes when you are outside, which may be rubber soles, or boots with deep treads can limit your risk for slips.   I would also recommend limiting the amount of items or weight that you are carrying around. Lastly, wear gloves and keep your hands out of your pockets so that if you do fall, you can catch yourself and hopefully limit the severity of the impact.

Walk Like A Penguin

When on slippery surfaces, walk like a penguin for best traction. Keep your feet underneath you and your hands to your side. Do not take very large steps. These things keep your weight directly over your feet to limit slips and falls.

Prevent Back Pain By Shoveling Snow Properly

While even the smallest amount of snow can put people at risk for back injuries, Syracuse is no slouch when it comes to large amounts of snow.  Most low back injuries occur when people do two actions simultaneously, lifting and twisting, both of which coincide with shoveling snow.  Here are a few tips to prevent back pain while shoveling snow:

  • Break it up: For starters, if possible, you should attack the snow a little at a time.  That could be shoveling a couple of times while the snow is falling or breaking the project up into sections (sidewalks, half of the driveway, then other half, etc).  It may also be helpful to attack some of the snow while it is still falling.  With the amount of snow that is predicted, it will be easier to clear 6 inches at a time versus a foot or more.  This way you don’t over exert yourself and end up injured.
  • Lift with your legs and arms, NOT YOUR BACK.  To do this be sure to bend your knees and hips and use the large muscles in the legs and arms to lift, and not the ones on your back.
  • Push the snow rather than throw it.  The less lifting and twisting you do will limit your risk of injury.
  • Dress for the weather and take breaks.  Know your limits and take your time.
  • Spray your shovel with non-stick spray.  This is especially important when the snow is wet and heavy like it is expected to be with this storm.  This will help keep the snow from sticking to the shovel, which will reduce the total weight you are shoveling.

Take care of your spine, its the only one you have.

While most of these may be obvious to long time upstate New Yorkers, not everyone has this experience or knowledge. Be safe in the snow and take your time, as it is always easier to prevent back pain than to get rid of it.  And if you do end up injuring yourself, book an appointment as soon as you can through our online scheduler. This way we can get you feeling and functioning better as soon as possible.  Early treatment can reduce the extent and duration of your injury.  Contact our Syracuse chiropractic office today.

Final Thoughts

Help your neighbors, especially the elderly, they have a much higher risk for injury from a slip and fall, but more importantly, they have a higher risk for heart problems with strenuous activity. Check in on those that may not be able to get out of the house.