We see a lot of patients complaining of shoulder pain in the winter. We see an increase in shoulder injuries due to fun outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding and some less-than-fun activities like shoveling snow. These activities can put a lot of stress on the shoulders, leading to pain and injury.

Here’s how you can enjoy your favorite cold-weather activities and keep your front steps and driveway clear without injuring your shoulder this winter.

Skiing and Snowboarding Safely

Skiing and snowboarding involve a lot of arm and shoulder movement and twisting and turning of the upper body. With snowboarding, you’re also constantly pushing yourself up from a seated position when you put your board back on after the chair lift. This can lead to strain and inflammation in the shoulders, particularly in the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. To prevent shoulder pain while skiing or snowboarding, it’s important to do a proper warm-up before hitting the slopes. Try including shoulder rotations, arm circles, and shoulder blade squeezes in your warmup to loosen up the muscles and tendons. Also, make sure to dress warmly and call it quits when your body is telling you it’s had enough. If you’re feeling tired after a day of skiing or snowboarding, consider avoiding the dreaded “one more run” to avoid any falls that could cause injuries. Many injuries on the mountain happen when people are cold and tired. 

Shoveling Snow Smartly

Shoveling snow can put a lot of stress on the shoulders, especially if you’re shoveling heavy, wet snow or if you’re not using proper form. To protect your shoulders while shoveling, it’s important to use your legs to push the snow rather than relying solely on your arms and shoulders. Using an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle can also help reduce the strain on your shoulders. If you have an existing shoulder injury, it may be worth hiring somebody to help you shovel the snow this year, instead of pushing yourself to injury.

Avoiding Slips and Falls

One of the most common causes of any winter injury is slips and falls. Keeping your walkway and driveway as clear of snow and ice as possible is important (ask somebody for help with shoveling if you’re prone to shoulder injuries). You’ll also want to wear proper footwear meant for snow and ice. Plus, try to give yourself a little extra time to get where you’re going so you don’t need to run through a slushy parking lot–it could save you from a nasty slip or fall!

 Staying Active

We often tend to hibernate a little when winter hits. This lack of activity and more time spent in front of the television, playing video games, knitting, or scrolling on our phones can also impact our shoulders. Sitting in the same position for a long time, poor posture, and repetitive movements can lead to muscle tension and pain in the shoulders. To prevent these, get up and move around frequently, take breaks, and try to maintain good posture. If you don’t feel like getting outside, find ways to be active indoors like yoga, swimming or other fitness classes.

Avoiding Winter Shoulder Pain and Injury

While it can be tempting to stay holed up next to a fireplace all winter, don’t wait until spring to get outside. As long as you take care, you can easily enjoy the snow without being sidelined by a shoulder injury. Remember to warm up before any more vigorous sports or shoveling snow, rest when you’re tired, wear good winter boots, keep walkways show and ice-free and take your time to get around.

If you do experience shoulder pain, you can try these helpful yoga poses to find some relief. If your pain is ongoing or impacting your ability to enjoy your daily life, seeking the help of a chiropractor can help get you on a path towards healing.

Reach Out to Us

All of the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic are dedicated to helping you get to the root cause of your shoulder pain. Reach out today to book your appointment. Let’s get you back to feeling good again.