Do you find that your back pain gets worse in the winter? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience worsening of their back pain symptoms during the cold weather months.
You may find it difficult to sleep due to the cold, or your back aches and pains more when you’re outside. Try sleeping on a heated mattress pad or wearing layers of clothing to stay warm.
Read more: Tips for Sleeping Comfortably When You Have Lower Back Pain
Spine-supporting muscles, like the ones in your lower back, can become tense when exposed to cold weather. This tension causes muscles to contract, leading to pain and discomfort.
Read on to understand the relationship between cold weather and back pain, as well as steps you can take to get relief.
Reasons for Back Pain in Extreme Winters
When it comes to cold weather and back pain, there are a few reasons why the two can be linked. These include:
1) The Barometric Pressure
The barometric pressure is the pressure of the air outside. During cold weather, this pressure can drop and cause the joints to expand. This expansion can lead to joint pain in people with pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or other joint diseases.
2) Stiffening Muscles
The cold weather can also cause muscles to stiffen up. This can lead to an increased risk of muscle strains and other muscle-related injuries, increasing the likelihood of back pain. When you move your body in cold weather, muscles can become tight and inflexible, leading to pain and discomfort.
Cold weather can also increase stress levels due to physical discomfort and fatigue. This can put extra strain on the muscles in the back, leading to further pain. For example, when shoveling snow or carrying heavy items.
4) Poor Posture
Cold weather often leads to hunching over as people try to stay warm. Unfortunately, this can contribute to bad posture and strain on the back muscles. Be conscious of your posture in cold weather, and keep your spine straight. For example, wear layered clothes, so you do not need to hunch over. In addition, if you have to walk in the cold for a long time, ensure your weight is distributed evenly on both sides of your body and take regular breaks to relieve strain on your back muscles.
5) Colder and Dark Days Affect the Mood
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people during the colder and darker months. Seasonal depression can cause natural sleep patterns to be disrupted, throwing off the circadian rhythm. Inflammatory cytokines (proteins), released when we experience stress, can increase pain in the back. Therefore, getting enough sleep and engaging in mood-boosting activities such as exercise or socializing may help alleviate some of the back pain caused by cold weather.
6) Unhealthy Eating Habits
Our bodies tend to crave unhealthy comfort foods when exposed to cold weather. This means we’re more likely to indulge in high-fat, sugary, or salty snacks – all of which can affect the health of our spine and cause back pain. A balanced diet of healthy components such as fruits and vegetables will help keep your spine strong.
Contact the Pain and Spine Institute for the best pain specialists in Chicago. We can help you manage your back pain caused by cold weather.