By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Emergency room personnel are seeing an upsurge in activity today, related to the bitter cold weather.

But Dr. Peter Sanaman, an emergency room physician at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, in West Philadelphia, says it’s not just the slips and falls on the ice that you’d expect.

“People who are homeless, or indigent in some way, who are more exposed to the elements and don’t have places to go, will come in for other complaints — chest pain, a rash, something they might not otherwise have come in for — to seek warmth and food and the shelter in the department,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

At the Rothman Urgent Care Center in Marlton, NJ,  the  drop-ins are of a more traditional variety.

“Just in the last few hours we’ve been seeing a lot of sprained ankles, ankle fractures, a lot of low back pain, strained backs from people trying to chip through the ice,” says Dr. Robert Franks.  “There have been a lot of wrist injuries — sprained wrists, broken wrists  — from people trying to break their fall.”

Dr. Franks says weather like this serves as an important wake-up call because you are asking muscles to do work they are not conditioned for.   So, he advises, a visit to your physician followed up by a regular exercise program will help prevent injuries of all kinds, because you will be more flexible.

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