“How to beat aches and pains if you ski”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
There is nothing like gliding down a mountain on a groomed powder slope when you’re the first skier...
The sky is bright blue and the mountains around you are absolutely pristine.
And nothing spoils your day or vacation like PAIN!
Neck pain can be due to strain or sprain. Strain occurs when ligaments, tendons, or muscles get stretched. This causes pain, aching and can occur after a long day of being out on the slopes. A fall or trying to get a better look at the blonde in the form fitting ski suit can also lead to neck strain.
Sprain occurs when the muscles or ligaments actually tear. Blood and inflammatory chemicals (called cytokines) pour into the area and swelling, pain, and severe spasm result. This can occur if you don’t make the right turn and wipe out… or you don’t see the right cross from your wife.
For both strain and sprain, use ice packs. Keep a towel between the ice pack and your skin to protect your skin from injury. Over the counter anti-inflammatory agents can help.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises are always a good idea both before and after you ski.
Low back pain can occur as a result of the same types of activities. A long day of skiing can lead to back strain. This is particularly true if you’re an aggressive skier and do bumps. Sitting for a long time après-ski can lead to low back strain as can lifting improperly at the ski locker. Lift with your legs. Keep your back straight. Keep your head up. If necessary, go down on one knee to lift. Keep the object you’re lifting close to your body. Always test the object before you lift it to make sure you can lift it.
Before you go out, work on stretching and strengthening. If you are unfortunate enough to injure your back, go at complete bed rest for at least a day with an ice pack. Gentle stretching exercises may help. See a physical therapist or a chiropractor. If you don’t get better soon, see your physician.
Shoulder problems are also common with skiing. Anytime you lift, haul your ski gear or fall, you are setting yourself up for shoulder problems. This is especially true if you use your arms in a position that is higher than your head. Rotator cuff strain can be a result. Make sure you do shoulder stretching before and after you ski. If you develop shoulder pain, apply ice and use OTC anti-inflammatory agents.
Elbow pain results from any repetitive activity. The most common is lateral epicondylitis. This is a form of tendonitis and affects the outside part of the elbow. If you know you’re going to be doing repetitive motion with the arms, make sure you stretch before and after. Ice your elbow down afterwards. If the elbow continues to bother you, you need to see your rheumatologist. An injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is considered the treatment of choice since this heals the tendon as opposed to steroid injections which weaken the tendon.
Wrist and hand problems can also occur any time you are using them for repetitive activity. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a particularly common problem. This occurs when the median nerve into the hand is pinched. Symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling can result. Treatment involves splinting, physical therapy, and injection with steroids. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Stretch (is this a recurrent theme or what?) before and after you ski. Use ice on your hands and wrists afterwards.
Tendonitis can be a problem in the hands. Trigger finger… a sticking of the fingers can occur commonly. Sometimes the finger won’t bend… and other times it’ll bend but won’t straighten! Trigger finger is treated with a small ultrasound-guided needle using hydrodissection technique.
Hip pain can occur when you fall… especially when you fall on your butt (More of a problem with snowboarding than with skiing) sit too much at après-ski, or if you are trying to maintain your balance – definitely a problem with beginners. Stretching before and after is a good idea.
Knee pain can result also if you either bang your knee or spend too much time kneeling. And anterior cruciate ligament injuries are almost a cliché in skiing. Be careful out there. Skiing rough terrain and doing bumps are particularly bad on the knees. For heaven’s sake, if you’re tired, stop. Contusions (a type of strain) and bursitis can also be a consequence. Ice and anti-inflammatory drugs may be helpful.
Foot and ankle pain is usually due to poor fitting boots. Go to a pro to get your boots. If you rent make sure they fit. A miserable day out on the slopes is the consequence otherwise. In addition to blisters, you can get tendonitis, bursitis, and a lousy attitude.
Skiing is not for sissies. Make sure you stretch and take care of those joints!
Get more information about arthritis and related conditions as well as...
• Insider arthritis tips that help you erase the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis almost overnight!
• Devastating ammunition against low back pain... discover 9 secrets!
• Ignored remedies that eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms quickly!
• Obsolete treatments for knee osteoarthritis that still are used... and may still work for you!
• The stiff penalties you face if you ignore this type of hip pain...
• 7 easy-to-implement neck pain remedies that work like a charm!
• And much more...
Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Return to arthritis home page.
Return to arthritis home page.