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.

See Ice Packs for Back Pain Relief

Dr. Thomas Hyde is a chiropractor who retired with more than 30 years of experience treating spine pain and soft tissue disorders in athletes and active patients.