Winter Sports Can Cause Stiffness and Soreness in the Neck

CGI of person with soreness and injury

Winter season, long days on the slopes or at the rink can take a toll on your body. Gains, pains, and muscles stress are all typical injuries to sustain after a day complete of winter season activities. Tightness and pain in the neck muscles are a common small injury that can be experienced. Nevertheless, it is still important to get a sense of some potential stiff neck triggers, avoidance techniques, and treatment approaches.

Injuries and Soreness from Winter Sports

More than 80% of the population experiences some sort of neck discomfort in their life time. It is a frequent issue however can be exacerbated by winter sports activities like snowboarding or perhaps sledding. Increased motion or tension on your neck and shoulders is directly related to and can increase the possibility of neck soreness and even a sprain.

Types of Sports for Cold Weather

Winter sports are a blast, and there are so many to choose from, you can’t do them all in one day! Part of having fun in the outdoors and enjoying winter is not being afraid to get involved in some activities like extreme sports. At the same time, it’s important to know what you’re doing and don’t attempt something you’re unprepared for in the event you experience injuries. Here are some common top winter sports and tips to know about them if it’s your first time.

Skiing

Some of the dangers with skiing include falling, colliding with others who are skiing, running into trees or rocks, or even to some degree blindness from snow or sunburn. When you prepare to ski, make sure you have the right equipment to protect yourself, a safe location to ski (preferably someplace where people commonly ski), don’t crowd other skiers, and consider finding someone to instruct you if it’s your first time skiing.

Snowboarding

Similar to skiing, snowboarding is a great winter sport but also relatively high in risk of injury. The risks of injuries while falling during snowboarding are varied and very numerous. You can also have collisions, crashes, or blinding and burning similar to skiing. It’s once again wise to have someone teach you this sport if you are a beginner, and practice in a safe location where other snowboarders are.

Ice Skating

Skating is a classic and thrilling sport as well, but it comes with some unique risks as well. In addition to the obvious risk of falling and becoming injured (ice is hard!), there is the possibility that skaters may forget to dress warmly enough and may experience muscle stiffness, soreness, or other negative symptoms due to exposure to extreme cold. Of course, you should also be aware of the dangers of skating on a body of water that is frozen over, as ice could break and people could have a fatal accident. Try to remain in areas where other skaters are and the thickness of the ice is sufficient to prevent this.

Sledding and Tubing

If you are sledding or tubing in a location where others commonly go to sled or tube, the risk involved in this sport is relatively low. There is the possibility of falling out of a sled or tube at a high speed, or crashing into an obstacle. However, the fact that you do not need to stand makes a difference and consequently, this sport is less risky as a cause of injuries. This is an exhilarating, no-experience-required winter sport, and an absolute classic.

Specific Sources of Soreness and Stiffness

Various things in sports of any kind can trigger tightness and discomfort in the neck muscles. Some of the reasons for winter sport soreness are intuitive enough, but there are some common reasons for soreness and pain in the muscles that you might not have expected. Some of these sources of soreness in winter sports include:

Change in Temperature

The cold temperature levels that accompany winter can cause muscles in your body to tighten and lose flexibility. This can cause stiffness and soreness in your back, neck, arms, or legs before you even leave your home for your winter season activity; this stiffness can make injuries more likely. For this reason, it’s essential to warm up and stretch prior to starting any strenuous outdoor activity.

Lack of Exercise

An absence of workout due to the winter can negatively affect your muscles, causing soreness and stiffness in areas of your body anywhere from your back to your joints. If you do not delight in conventional winter season sports and activities, you might consider an exercise you have fun doing inside. This can prevent losses in strength, versatility, and endurance that often happen during the winter. Another good way to keep exercising is to find a place where you can run. One of the easiest ways to keep yourself active through all months is to run.

Whiplash

Whiplash occurs when the neck is all of a sudden forced backward in a whip-like movement and can be sustained snowboarding or skiing. If your head is rapidly forced back during a fall, it could lead to whiplash, and tightness and pain in the neck muscles. This injury can likewise happen in other winter sports like ice hockey.

an actual picture of my mom slipping on ice

A Herniated Disc

This condition is usually seen in older patients, however can occur in younger people if a neck injury occurs where there is a sharp twisting motion, as may happen if you take a fall. Discs act as the cushion between the hard vertebrae, and if they end up being removed it can trigger pain, muscle stress, or even a stiff neck headache.

Treatment Options

There are some basic treatments you can use to relieve your neck tightness or discomfort. Some can be done at home one or two times a day, while others require you to look for a physician or chiropractor. Some natural home remedies and tips you can utilize to assist and alleviate neck tightness or discomfort include:

Resting your Neck

If you sustained a mild injury, rest may be the right way to solve your soreness. It is best to consult your physician if you are not sure about the severity of your injuries. Rest for even just one day will usually tend to work well to promote good recovery, but you need to try and allow yourself to rest first thing. Don’t strain yourself excessively after an injury, or you are going to make things worse.

Medication

Over the counter medications may be useful for muscle inflammation and swelling, unless there is a medical factor to avoid them. Taking the advised quantity in addition to resting can help your neck discomfort significantly. Make certain to consult your household physician prior to beginning any brand-new medication. Medication may work well to numb pain and help with swelling, but it is usually not a lasting solution to many health related issues.

Stretching

This is another way to keep the flexibility of your neck intact so that you feel good before and after physical activity. Simple stretches such as rolling your shoulders and rolling your neck side to side (thoroughly!) can help with pain and other conditions. To get into a stretching routine one or two times a day is actually a great way to help prevent back and neck pain, as well as strengthening your body over time and preventing workout related-injury. Plus, it generally makes your body feel good as new.

When Serious Injury Occurs

Neck discomfort and stiffness may also be a sign of a more serious kinds of injuries. If the injury is sustained while snowboarding or playing ice hockey, it could be a symptom of something more serious. You would be right to consult a doctor for a professional medical viewpoint. Having someone pray for healing is another fantastic way to reduce symptoms and gain recovery as well as building an attitude and discipline of faith. If a serious injury has occurred and the recovery methods you have tried so far have not worked, there are various other treatment choices you could try, which include:

– Wearing a neck brace to reduce movement and help the neck muscles recover

– Physical therapy to reconstruct strength and flexibility

– Other forms of at-home relief like traction devices

Recovery from sports activity related injury that could result from a fall or anything else is important to attend to properly before you keep exercising. Going back to an intense exercise routine when injured can cause worse problems for your health and body. Make sure you know whether or not you have been hurt seriously, and how to minimize the risk of further negative conditions like chronic back or neck pain.

For some, winter is a great time of year to get active and play outside, but you don’t need to push yourself beyond what your body is prepared for. Getting in shape before taking on extreme sports is wise and might result in as little likelihood of getting hurt as possible. You and many others can experience the thrills of winter without excessive danger.

For others, maintaining an active routine day-to-day during extremely cold winter months can tend to be a challenge. If you are unsure how to stay in shape and are not a big fan of the cold, that is okay. Some great options for workouts inside are yoga, dance classes, or going to a gym. You can stay active during winter months without having to fight the chill for it.

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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Sex-related differences in Sports Medicine: Bone Health and Stress Fractures https://www.aaos.org/aaosnow/2019/sep/clinical/clinical01/

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