As cold weather approaches, chiropractors often work overtime. Patients complain of increasing back and neck pain. Is there a connection between back and neck pain and cold weather?
Science is yet to identify the reason why back and neck pain is aggravated in cold weather. Some suggest that the drop in barometric pressure (the weight of the atmosphere) may be the culprit. Others believe that constriction of the blood vessels causes pain signals to amplify. The latter theory has more supporting evidence, but the evidence is inconclusive.
In spite of the lack of scientific evidence, the fact is that many people complain of greater back and neck pain when cold weather sets in. A Swedish study of 135,000 construction workers discovered that the incidence of back and neck pain was greater in men who worked in low temperatures than in high temperatures.
In addition, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming: doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists all agree that patients complain of lower back and neck pain more during the colder months.
One “solution” is to move to a warmer climate, but this won’t cure the underlying cause of the pain and may give you a false sense of security. A better solution is to visit a chiropractor and find out why your lower back or neck aches. It may be because of poor posture, lack of exercise or not warming up enough before engaging in manual labour or exercise.
Here are some things you can do to reduce or prevent lower back or neck pain in winter:
- Watch your posture: muscles can stiffen up in cold weather. If your posture is poor, you can be more prone to muscle injuries.
- Wear warm clothes and tuck in your shirt to keep your back and neck warmer.
- Stretch to warm up before work or exercise.
- Remind yourself to relax your shoulders and roll your shoulders to loosen them up.
- Warm up your car before you drive.
If you are experiencing back or neck pain, make an appointment with one of our chiropractors at Petrozzi Wellness Centre in Leichhardt within Sydney’s inner west, before the cold weather sets in. They can pinpoint the problem and help you devise a program that can reduce the pain and prevent it from getting worse in winter.