Oct 13, 2016
As the temperatures drop, you might notice aching in your neck, lower back or another part of your spine. It’s easy to assume that the two things are connected, but this is not always the case. Understanding how and why cold weather affects your spine is the first step to handling pain.
It isn’t always tied to location
Chronic back pain doesn’t disappear when you move to a warmer location. It also won’t happen as a result of a colder climate. Our bodies tend to adjust to the climate we live in, so changes in temperatures are going to be noticeable, whether it’s hot or cold. No matter where you live, it is likely that you’ll experience increased back pain in colder temperatures. Of course if you’re shoveling snow and treading icy sidewalks in winter, you have an increased risk of back injuries and a chance of slipping. Proper twisting and lifting and supportive shoes with good grip will protect you from falling.
Cold temperatures are associated with an increased risk of back injuries
People often experience back, neck and joint pain before a storm or when the temperature quickly falls. However, there is no scientific evidence between declining atmospheric pressure and back pain. When you’re cold, the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back tighten and become less flexible, which makes them more prone to injuries. Winter back problems are avoidable when you dress warmly, stretch your muscles and stay active.
Dark, gloomy days can contribute to depression and chronic pain
Colder temperatures combined with fewer hours of sunlight and holiday-related stresses can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Many people also struggle with seasonal affective disorder, a type of seasonal depression, or experience other depressive symptoms that might increase their sensitivity to back pain.
Shorter, colder days discourage exercise
It can be difficult to maintain a fitness routine in the colder months. Dark mornings, freezing temperatures and wet surfaces make it both uncomfortable and dangerous to exercise outside. Avoiding exercise will only increase back pain, so try indoor exercise like yoga, aerobics, swimming or working out on an exercise machine. This is guaranteed to provide more energy and reduce back pain.