Skiing and Back Pain

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 one is 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 one's individual ability level

If one has 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 preferable, take a whirlpool or hot tub after skiing to ease muscle pain.