While skiing and snowboarding are more likely to result in injuries to the knee or upper body, the stress on the lower back can also produce or worsen a lower back condition.
How Skiing Causes Back Pain
- While skiing, the body’s core muscles – lower back muscles and abdominal muscles – are used to keep the body in the proper form.
- Carrying the heavy skis, boots and other equipment can be awkward and lead to lower back strain. Falling while skiing can jar, twist or otherwise stress the spine and soft tissue structures connected or supporting the spine.
- Self-correcting to avoid a fall can lead to a lower or mid back strain or other injury.
- Skiing on moguls or other bumpy terrain can be particularly jarring to the spine and soft tissues around the spine.
Preventing Back Pain and Sports Injuries from Skiing
- Begin exercising to prepare for skiing at least six weeks before getting on the ski slopes. If you are particularly out of shape, begin a preparatory exercise program several months before skiing.
- Always take one warm-up run down the easiest hill each time before beginning skiing on more challenging terrain.
- Ski on slopes that fit within your individual ability level.
TIP: If you have a back problem, consider taking lessons from a ski instructor who has experience providing ski instruction for individuals with back pain. Ice the painful areas following each day of skiing. If possible, book a deep tissue or sports massage session after skiing to ease muscle pain.
A WORD OF CAUTION: No matter how well prepared or careful you are, there is always a chance of falling and injuring yourself, or aggravating an existing injury. Make sure your trip is covered by medical insurance.
Your own physical condition and diagnosis may require specific modifications or precautions. Before undertaking any course of self-treatment you should consult a doctor or physiotherapist.