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How long do you wait to hit the slopes after an injury?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This might sound like a dumb topic but it's something I have been thinking about for a week or so.

I haven't been skiing for 30 days now due to an accident I had in January. With out getting into too many details I took a fall from around 5 ft in the air. Meaning I dropped 5 ft down at high speed on my left side, which impacted so hard that I heard and felt my spine crack. The impact knocked the wind out of me and I thought for a few seconds that I broke my back.

After 10 minutes or so laying there and answering questions from the ski medic and then signing a waver I was able to ski to the bottom, (slowly) and in much pain drove myself to the hospitol. Turns out I got lucky and my spine is fine. my entire lower back was bruised deeply and strained.

Now here it is 30 days later, snow keeps falling and I'm itching to hit the mountain. I have little to no pain in my back but my muscles are stiff. Most likely due to having to baby my back for nearly a month. Movement is good but stretching is tuff because my back is stiff.

I feel it's time to start skiing and I think it might even help my back regain strength and loosen up. If I go I would take it easy for sure.

I guess I'm here because I wonder if I'm making a mistake and should wait till my back is 100% NOT stiff. I figure I have to do something because the stiffness isn't going to go away on it's own and skiing is more fun than working out in the garage.

what do you think?
post #2 of 20
I strained my MCL about the same time. I will be back on the slopes this weekend to test it out. Everyone is different.
post #3 of 20
Since I am no doctor, didn't see the medical reports, etc.... I can't give a definite answer..

Your spine was fine but your back was strained and bruised... First of all, over the past month, you should have been stretching. Bruises aren't a reason to stop you, and if you are sure your back is just stiff, work it out.. maybe contact a messagetherapist and get a few sessions to speed it up....

Another option would be to contact the doctor, and let him tell you.

If it was me, and it just felt like a stiff back and everything else felt fine (NO PAIN), I'd go out and carve some groomers at slow-moderate speed.. no Mach, no steeps, no jumps.. basically... I wouldn't put myself in a spot where wrecking is likely, nor would I ski agressively, at least the first day. I'd ski for 30 mins, rest for 30 minutes... just to see how I felt after the adrenaline goes away and reality returns. If I felt worse... I'd stop. If I felt better than when I started, I'd ski for an hour and rest for another 20-30 mins. If I felt the same, I'd ski another 30 and rest for 20.

What I wouldn't do is go out and ski to beat hell, and if I felt worse, I wouldn't suck it up and keep going.

I repeat.. I'm not a doctor and do not recommend using my scenario.. it was what I would do in the situation... I am an Exercise Physiology major and I know my body very well... I calculate rewards vs. consequences anytime I put myself in a risky situation.

My main recommendation would be to see a dctor and see what they say.. be straight up.. say.. I wanna fly, I wanna ski hard, I wanna rip... Is my back back to normal to a point where If I take a fall, it's not going to hurt it anymore than it would if my back was 100%.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Its good to see how others view this sort of thing.

Yes my spin is completely fine. No pain at all except for stretching which isn't really pain.

I think I'll go skiing this weekend and try it out. I'll be extra careful. easy carving on some easy going slopes.

I think taking a break in between runs like you suggest is a good idea. I do not want to go balls out for sure. My back feels so much better than it did but I don't want to hurt it again.
post #5 of 20
i'm surprised no one has said it yet.

it depends on how fast you were traveling and how high you flew! mlliseconds to possibly a second or two tops!
post #6 of 20
skier_j - that'd be how long before the injury, I think..
post #7 of 20
Originally Posted by Amish View Post
Yes my spin is completely fine. No pain at all except for stretching which isn't really pain.
Can you establish the peak and sustained shock you can handle before hitting the slope so you'd have a sence of how vigorous and long you should ski before a break?
post #8 of 20
Depends on two things: 1) how good is the snow? and 2) How much hydrocodone do you have?
post #9 of 20
If I didn't have to wait for bones to set or ligaments to mend, I would be on the slopes after three days rest (edit: that's what I meant to say, not "within three days"), but taking it easy, and not doing anything that caused too much pain. I would avoid doing any oxy-codone when skiing to make sure I could tell if I were overdoing it (the skiing) or not.

edit: You need to exercise those muscles and get some blood flowing to them for them to heal.
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by hydrogen_wv View Post
skier_j - that'd be how long before the injury, I think..
My premise was injury first followed by launch
post #11 of 20
Well from the guy who DID break his back, doc told me I have to be in a brace for 8-10 weeks, then I assume PT, he said next season I can ski again. If you are still sore and feel weak, if you are in a situation where you have to call upon your core strength and it fails you, you may hurt yourself much more seriously. Someone here just busted himself up real bad after just such a scenario, he thought he was healed well enough and fell as soon as he started skiing again and is now in much worse shape with more serious injuries. I would work out and get strong and healthy before hitting the slopes again, especially if you have dangerous skiing tendancies. I dont think you have much interest in doing the bunny slopes so before you go launching yourself into big trouble get strong.
post #12 of 20
When I can handle the pain/discomfort.
post #13 of 20
Take it easy, let your body tell you what is and isn't possible. No danger in hitting the slopes for some easy runs and seeing how you feel if it's just a muscle strain. Don't overwork yourself and pull those muscles though!
post #14 of 20
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
If I didn't have to wait for bones to set or ligaments to mend, I would be on the slopes after three days rest
One time, I went skiing two days after the cast was cut off my arm. Just duct tape to my body in a sling and be careful... but I was younger then, and plane tix had already been purchased.

In your case, I'd take it easy out on the slopes, and work on core strengthening exercises and stretches in the days before/after the skiing. See how those help/hurt. Also, remember that there's still some season left and ruining the rest of it sucks a lot more than not pushing yourself for a day or two.
post #15 of 20
..And there are plenty of seasons in the future, don't permanently injure yourself...
post #16 of 20
when I broke my wrist: ~15 hrs. so far my only serious injury
post #17 of 20
i ruptured/tore a tendon in my knee new years eve from hyperflexing it...

very painful for the first few days- crutches, etc. doctor said wait 3 weeks and should be ok. 3 weeks later, still tight- but 1ft of powder at stowe made me get out and ski.

it's been almost 2 months. have skied 2 more days since. hasn't healed completely. still sore/tight everday, hurts alot when i hyperflex my knee and pops from time-to-time.

i've pretty much given up on trying to let it heal- it may need surgery at this point- probably worse than first diagnosed.

however, i'm just gonna wait until ski season's over before i hit up the doctor again- i just don't want any bad news on it to ruin my season.

i've heard of guys skiing on torn ACLs the next day cause they paid good money for a ski trip... with some things, it's a physical game to a point-
in the end, however, i think it's all in the head.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies.

I went to Bear Mountain yesterday moring. Started skiing around 9am and started with a couple green slopes. Feeling good and no pain at all I quickly moved on to some blues and some diamonds as well. My back felt great. Towards the end of the day I was starting to get sore so I decided to pack it in and drive home That was at 6pm. So I got a full day of skiing in and I'm glad I decided to go skiing. I woke up this morning and my back feels even better.
post #19 of 20
Stretch and stretch and stretch......like for 45 minutes in morning and 1 hour at night...tonnes of back and yoga streches...for 3 days -4 days between now and ski..and keep up with it...I never streched in my life..had injuries in past etc etc and now I strech morn and night every day of my life...madness not to me thinks..you will so much less prone to injury...makes you feel amazing too..go out and buy stretching books today and get into it.
post #20 of 20
I dislocated my shoulder years ago. I was riding a whole lot at the time, pretty much a dirtbag ski bum. My girlfriend would probably say that I still am a dirtbag ski bum. I took what felt like forever off to let it rest. Forever then was two weeks. The next time up, I hit a little kicker, didn't land perfectly, pushed off the deck with my hand, and ripped my shoulder right back out. Now to make a long story short, between basketball, climbing, playing with the dog, playing with a girl (no she wasn't fat like the paramedics making fun of me said), grabbing random things out of the back of my truck, mountaineering courses, avoiding dogs (mine) in the backcountry, and just being a little intoxicated and brave, I've lost count of how many dislocations I got. I stopped counting around the 120+ mark. So, there you go.
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