Many people cringe as they think about the winter months stretching ahead–this season is long and dark and lonely for many of us. For some, however, it can also mean the onset of more back pain.
While there is debate in the scientific community about the connection between cold weather and back pain, many people insist their pain increases as winter hits. A research study in Sweden of 135,000 construction workers who spent extended hours outside working in the cold found that people who worked outside in colder temperatures complained of increased back and neck pain.
While the scientific community may debate the causal link between cold weather and increased pain, we do know that when you’re cold, you’re more prone to injuries that can cause back pain. These injuries occur because the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back tighten and become less flexible.
Other Cold-Weather Causes of Back Pain
Gloomy winter days and a lack of sunlight can also impact your mental and emotional health. If your mood dips low enough for long enough, you may experience depression, which has been shown to exacerbate pain perception. So, while winter weather may not directly cause your back pain, if it causes you to feel depressed, you could experience worsening back pain because of your mood.
Another factor that can increase the risk of back pain during the winter is a lack of exercise. It can be tough to feel motivated to get the same amount of exercise we do during warmer, sunnier months. Many of us tend to become more sedentary as the days get shorter, wetter and colder. A lack of exercise and stretching leaves us prone to injuries and strains that can cause our back pain to flare up.
Tips For Staying Pain-Free Through the Winter
- Dress warmly: to help avoid injuries that could contribute to your back pain, make sure to stay warm–wear slippers indoors, and use an electric blanket to prevent your muscles from getting cold at night. Dress in warm layers whenever you’re heading outdoors, paying particular attention to keeping your neck and core toasty. Wear non-slip footwear to prevent falls.
- Keep in touch: it can be tempting to hibernate the winter away, but a lack of social interactions and isolation negatively impact our emotional well-being and put us at risk of depression. Maintain contact with friends and loved ones by scheduling time to connect regularly.
- Stay active: if you’re somebody who loves exercising outdoors, it can be difficult to keep up your routine during the winter. Find other activities that keep you active outdoors (dressing for the occasion of course) or try indoor activities like swimming or yoga. Staying active is one of the best ways to prevent back pain.
- Seek help: if your winter back pain is impacting your ability to enjoy daily activities or do your job properly, seeing your doctor or another medical professional is recommended. A chiropractor can help you assess the root cause of your back pain and come up with a treatment plan to help relieve pain and prevent it moving forward.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Is back pain preventing you from getting quality sleep? Then schedule your appointment with Cianci Chiropractic today.