Winter is here. This means that snow and icy conditions may not be far behind. Although we may work diligently to prevent injuries from shoveling snow or slips and falls, sometimes accidents still happen. If you’ve strained your back from over-exertion or a slip on ice, here are some tips to put you on the path to recovery.
- Take an active recovery approach. Stretch or walk around at an easy, comfortable pace. If you sit down for an extended period, the affected area may get increasingly tense and the pain may actually worsen. In other words, stay loose and limber.
- Use Ice for the first 24-48 hours on the injured region to reduce bruising, swelling, pain and inflammation. After those first two days, alternate with heat to relax tight muscles. You can take a warm shower or bath, or use a heating pad.
- Eat well. You may think that eating healthy is a “no brainer,” but the food you eat plays a big role in your recovery from injury. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables with their anti-inflammatory properties while staying hydrated may help you to recover quicker.
- Sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is another important component of the healing process. When you’re laying down to bed at night, try laying either on your side with a pillow between your knees, or on your back with two pillows under your knees to support good spinal alignment.
- Recovery takes time and it may take you a few days to feel like your normal self. Be patient and allow yourself to heal.
- You know your body best. If you continue to feel pain with little to no improvement, consult a medical professional for an evaluation.
David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.