Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful
Winter is here and the cold weather will stick around for awhile. For many, this means hot cocoa, sledding, sleigh rides, and shoveling. However, for those who struggle with back pain, the cold weather can bring with it aches, pains, and discomfort. So why does the cold weather seem to agitate issues with our bodies?
What Causes Muscle Stiffness?
Our body’s natural response to the cold is a process called vasoconstriction. During this process our blood vessels begin to narrow in our extremities and divert the extra blood to our vital organs (brain, heart, lungs, etc.) to keep them warm. When your muscles and tendons have less blood flow they begin to stiffen.
Remember: our spines are supported by an intricate network of muscles, tendons, and sensitive nerve endings. More commonly, pain issues stem from injuries and strains to these muscles and tendons as opposed to injuries with the spine itself. As blood flow is restricted to these muscles, your back can stiffen up causing discomfort and pain.
How Can I Reduce or Prevent Muscle Stiffness?
The best way to minimize your risk of back pain in cold weather seasons is to simply stay as warm as possible. When you have to step outside, wear an extra layer. You want to make sure your extremities are covered and protected from the elements. Consider an electric blanket during the cold winter nights and keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Another way to minimize your risk is to keep the physical strain to a minimum. It’s understandable that driveways and walkways do not clear themselves, but don’t over exert yourself. Take breaks when needed and get a more ergonomically designed shovel to make lifting with your knees easier or self propelled snowblower. It’s also important to invest in good winter boots that provide insulation for your feet and optimal traction. A traumatic fall is one of the quickest ways to end up with painful spinal issues such as a herniated disc or fractured vertebrae.
When It’s More Than Just Stiffness
Cold weather freezing you in your tracks? If you experience lingering, worsening, or debilitating pain, we invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation. At William Capicotto, we restore motion to your spine so you can move on with your life.