Tips to Relieve Back and Joint Pain Due to Cold Weather
Do you feel as though your back pain and/or other chronic pain worsen during cold weather? The good news is, you aren’t imagining that the pain worsens during cold temperatures; you really can feel the chill of winter in your bones, especially those who suffer with chronic pain from conditions, such as arthritis or sciatica problems. Your muscles, bones and joints may be able to give you an inside notice what the weather is like outside, but it doesn’t mean that just because there is snow on the ground you have to suffer with extra pain. There are a number of ways that can help to reduce chronic pain and allow you to be more comfortable during the winter.
Connection Between the Cold and Chronic Pain
Although researchers have not pinpointed the exact connection, studies have shown that it may be caused by your nerves becoming more sensitive when it’s cold. Have you have ever noticed that your rings may fit your finger more loosely during the winter than in the summer? It’s the same concept when it comes to your joints. Colder temperatures cause the fluid in your joints to thicken, causing more swelling on the joints. However, the cold also shrinks the tissues surrounding your joints, causing them to put pressure on nerve endings and causing more pain and when the barometric pressure drops, there is less pressure from the atmosphere to hold your tissues back, which leads to the inflamed tissue to swell, ultimately causing your pain to worsen in cold weather.
Tips To Relieve Chronic Joint Pain
Although you may not be able to completely get rid of your joint pain once you have it, there are some simple ways to lessen the pain and prevent the pain from worsening.
- Eat healthy- During the winter it is common for your diet to become “heavier”, because your body naturally craves foods that generate warmth and builds fat, which helps humans stay warmer. However, it is important to maintain a good, healthy diet during the winter as well as in the summer. Controlling excess weight can help to relieve the strain on joints that are already sore. It may also be beneficial to talk with your physician to determine if you may need any nutritional supplements, which may help to minimize your pain.
- Stay active- Even though the cold weather makes you want to hide indoors, when your pain is flaring up, getting up and moving can help to alleviate the pain. Exercise helps to keep your joints moving, preserves your bone health and strengthens muscles. Don’t overdo it, but doing light exercise, such as stretches, aerobics, yoga or walking can be extremely beneficial.
- Stay warm and dry- When it’s cold outside, your joints and bones need extra warmth and cushioning. Some ways to stay warm may include dressing in layers, especially if you are going outside, taking a warm bath to loosen your muscles or curl up under a heated blanket, which can help loosen muscles before you go to bed and while you are sleeping.
It is important to see your neurosurgeon or spine surgeon regularly, especially during the winter to discuss spinal surgery, pain treatments or medical aids that may help to decrease your chronic pain during the colder months. It is also important to keep a positive attitude. Remember the cold weather won’t be around forever and learning to handle the pain effectively will give you additional comfort.
To learn more information about how to handle chronic pain during the winter or anytime of the year, contact Capital City Neurosurgery to learn about the various options we have available.