Ski Season and Back Pain: What to Know Before Hitting the Slopes

Skiing is a popular winter sport for people across the country. Rushing down the slopes of a beautiful mountain can be exhilarating, but it also comes with some significant risks. While most people are concerned about major injuries to the head, mouth, or legs while skiing, the sport can also take its toll on your back.

Back pain is a common occurrence in skiers at all levels – from beginning to expert. Without proper warm-ups, muscle strengthening, and rehabilitation, skiers may face a range of painful symptoms. If you plan to hit the slopes some more this season, the spinal experts at Posture Works in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO, may be able to get your back in good shape after a long weekend of skiing.

How skiing can lead to back pain

There are many ways that skiing can cause pain in the neck or back. Lower back pain is the most common form of ski-related pain due to the stress placed on the spinal vertebrae, joints, and soft tissues that support the spine.

Pain may develop from:

  • Overuse or stress injury: While skiing, you rely on your lower back and abdominal muscles to keep you stable and in the proper form. Turning typically comes from motion in the core and hips. If your core muscles are weak or your spine is unstable, your back may endure added stress. Additionally, when you’re on the slopes for long periods of time, you may overwork your spine’s supportive tissues, causing tightness or inflammation.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Due to the nature of the sport, wipeouts happen. One wrong twist or harsh landing could tweak something in your back, potentially causing a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Skiing while experiencing muscle stiffness or a lack of flexibility might increase your risk for a pulled muscle or torn ligament, as well.
  • Traumatic injury: Skiing is risky, and there’s a chance you could endure a traumatic injury while on the slopes. Hard falls or collisions could cause significant damage to your spine. Whiplash is another common skiing injury, potentially causing long-term neck pain.
  • Exacerbating an existing spinal problem: If you already have a spinal problem, such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease, skiing might worsen your symptoms by putting extra stress on the vertebral discs, joints, and muscles. Skiing on moguls or doing jumps could lead to additional impact that exacerbates pain.

Chiropractic for ski season rehabilitation

Before you dive into ski season, it’s important to stretch and exercise to strengthen the muscles that support your core and spine. Injury-free skiing starts with a strong body. Additionally, you might want to take a ski lesson to ensure you’re using the proper form and not putting unnecessary stress on your back.

However, even expert skiers in great shape can get injured on the slopes, especially if they don’t take time to rehabilitate their stressed bodies. This is where chiropractic may be able to help.

Through various chiropractic methods, including spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapies, and strengthening exercises, chiropractors may help alleviate problems with stiffness and immobility, reduce pain, and help skiers strengthen their back muscles. Continuing to ski with a stressed back could increase your risk for injury, so routine chiropractic treatment may be useful, even if you’re not experiencing severe back pain yet.

If you’re planning to get the most out of your ski season, contact Posture Works in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO. Using our comprehensive Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, our team may be able to reduce your risk for injury and alleviate pain or discomfort after a skiing injury or a long day on the slopes.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.