The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
Unless you’re Elsa, those suffering from back or neck pain may notice that their symptoms worsen in cold weather. While the exact science is uncertain, the reason could be that muscles, joints, and ligaments stiffen in lower temperatures.
Your spine is made up of over 120 muscles, 100 joints, and 220 ligaments that work together to keep your spine stable and maintain your flexibility and range of movement. Because of this, it’s important to treat your spine right and practice good posture when sitting, exercise and strengthen your core muscles, and eat a balanced diet.
Don’t let increased pain limit you from participating in your favorite winter activities. Reduce winter back pain and protect the health of your spine with these easy-to-follow tips:
Tips To Prevent Winter Back Pain
We can’t say it enough: your spine has an excellent memory. Controlling your posture, engaging in strengthening the back muscles, as well as stretching are all beneficial to the long-term health of your spine. Stretching improves balance, warms up muscles, strengthens your core, and keeps you limber, as well as reduces the likelihood of muscle strains and soreness.
Make a new resolution for the new year to stretch daily. Set one specific time–just 10 to 15 minutes–to develop a routine. Stretch in the morning before work, in the evening before you sit down to watch your favorite primetime shows and movies, or even during commercial breaks!
- Stretching cold muscles may result in strains so try 10 minutes of light exercise, like walking, to warm up.
- Don’t bounce.
- Hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Breathe normally–don’t hold your breath!
- Alternate stretches–if you stretch the back of your thigh, next stretch the front.
- Stretch before and after exercising to warm up and cool off.
Plunging temperatures and snow flurries may seem like the world is telling you to stay indoors but staying active and mobile is important. Regular exercise strengthens your core which in turn strengthens your spine, reducing your risk of developing chronic back pain.
If a cold climate has you huddling around the fireplace, then it’s time to take your workouts indoors. Swim in an indoor heated pool. Find an indoor track. Join a gym or sign up for a fitness class. There are dozens of ways to maintain your fitness schedule and keep yourself on track for the spring!
Remember to maintain a proper form:
- Lift with your legs, not your back.
- Bend knees when lifting.
- Don’t bend or twist.
Learn more about exercise’s relationship with pain relief.
Dress For The Temperature
Have you stood in a grocery store dressed in head-to-toe layers only to glance sideways and see a man wearing shorts? Don’t follow his lead! Layer up and keep warm. Wear hats, gloves, scarves, and boots, and look for footwear with rubber soles to provide traction and support on snow, icy terrain and sidewalks.
Be Smart When Shoveling
For Buffalo and the surrounding areas, residents have been blessed with a mild winter, but when it comes time to shovel, there are several safety tips to reduce your risk of back and shoulder pain, sprains, and strains:
• Warm up
• Push, don’t lift
• Switch sides
• Listen to your body
Read our full article on how to stay safe when shoveling.
Make William Capicotto MD your first choice for surgery.
No one wants to be sidelined from their favorite winter activities because of back or neck pain. If you experience lingering pain in any of these areas, 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.