How Cold Weather Affects Chronic Pain

For those of us that suffer
from chronic back and neck
pain, active-15926_960_720cold weather does nothing to help. The following are a few facts and tips to help you get through the season comfortably.

Weather Changes and the Spine

Discomfort may increase because your muscles tend to stiffen up in cold weather. The spine’s muscles end up becoming tight and tense. Any added tension, such as barometric pressure and physical stress, can worsen this pain and increase the risk of a muscle strain or sprain.

Add Your Own Heat

If the cold makes your pain worse, try incorporating heat therapy into your daily routine. Heat therapy can loosen stiffness and encourage healing through increased circulation. For example, you can:

  • Apply a hot pack, warm towel or heating pad to the painful area
  • Purchase over-the-counter heat wraps
  • Swim in a heated indoor pool a few times a week
  • Stay active, as inactivity can gradually increase certain types of pain
  • Wear warm shoes or boots with treads to prevent slips and falls
  • Keep your lower back warm by tucking your shirt into your pants and wearing a sweater over your bottom layer
  • At night, keep your home warm and use more than one blanket to keep your muscles from tightening while you sleep.