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Back Pain & Sciatica - Does Cold Weather Make Spine Problems Worse?

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February 1, 2019 0 2 minutes, 50 seconds read
Dr Sanjeev K Gupta - Max Hospital
Director - Neurosurgery
Neurosurgery, Neurosciences

As the Season Changes and the temperature drops chances of developing acute back pain may go up most people with back pain and sciatica say firmly that winter makes it worse.  Do cold temperatures really make spine Problems worse? As winter sets in, muscles stiffen up in the cold. Added tension can make the pain worse with the risk of a muscles sprain that in turn can cause plenty of back pain.

Dark and gloomy days with colder temperature and fewer hours of sunlight in winter may contribute to depression which in turn can cause or aggravate chronic back pain. Shorter, colder days discourage from exercising which can be a recipe for back pain. Avoiding exercise is one of the worst things you can do for your aching back in winter. Below are some common reason people experience acute low back pain in winter reason along with tips you can try to avoid unnecessary pain.

BENDING AND TWISTING ACTIVITIES

  • Some helpful tips to avoid low back pain during these activities include :
  • Be sure and warm up your muscles.
  • Pace yourself: Exhausting and difficult physical activities are prone to worsen back pain, and should be done with frequent breaks as necessary.
  • Proper form : Always lift with your legs and not your back. Bend at your Knees when lifting, and avoid bending and twisting as much as possible.

Cold temperatures and snow on the ground can lead to slick sidewalks and ice covered surfaces. 

Tips to avoid slips and falls:

  • Wear proper Footwear and gloves .Treads on Winter foot wear help to prevent slips and falls.
  • Watch were you are going .it sound simple But with everyone’s eyes glued to their smart phone, it’s no wonder people fall from not looking where they are going.

REGULAR EXERCISE REGIMEN

Tips for avoiding lack of exercise:

  • Maintain a healthy home exercise program to strengthen your back
  • Spend less time on the couch watching TV and cricket. Take commercial breaks to stand up and stretch or do some home exercises.
  • Avoid overeating during winters to avoid excessive weight gain which can certainly lead to episodes of acute back pain.

KEEP WARM

Many patients complain of joint pain as the temperature drops, but there are simple ways to try and avoid this.

  • Dress warm .when it’s cold outside dress warm and wear layers you can always remove some articles of clothing if you get too warm. Many people under dress and leave themselves vulnerable avoid this common mistake by wearing layers of clothing that will Keep you warm in these cold conditions 
  • Try a heating pad on sensitive areas. The local heat can be therapeutic to the area
  • Stretch and warm up muscles before any outdoor and strenuous activity.

If you do have pain this winter, there are things you can do:

  • Mild Pain: employ rest, analgesics and continue your home exercise program as tolerated.
  • Moderate to severe pain: This is the time to see a healthcare provider to help you give a diagnosis and setup an appropriate patient specific treatment plan.

TAKE CARE THIS WINTER SEASON

  • Maintain a healthy home exercise program to strengthen your back.
  • While watching TV, take commercial breaks to stretch or do some home exercises.
  • Avoid overeating during winters to avoid excessive weight gain that can lead to backache.
  • When it’s cold outside, dress warm and wear layers of clothes that’s easy to remove.

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