Can the Climate Play a Role in Your Spinal Health?

Temperatures are slowly dropping, and you’ve most likely started to notice a familiar ache in your lower back, neck, or somewhere else in your spine that had a previous injury. This is why a lot of people assume that aches or pains in your joints and muscles and colder weather or damp weather are connected, and they steel themselves for aching all winter. Understanding why and how the different types of weather affect your back and spine is the first step to helping manage your pain. You can consult a spinal surgeon too, but you should know the following.

1. Geography Isn’t Totally to Blame

At Florida Spine Associates, a lot of patents come from states up north. However, our local patients will attest to the fact that chronic pain in your back doesn’t magically vanish if you decide to move to a warmer climate. It also doesn’t necessarily ring true that you’re more likely to experience back pain and need a spinal surgeon if you live in a colder climate or in an area that has colder winters.

In fact, you should know that your body will naturally adjust to any climate you live in. So, any temperature changes in the area you’ve become accustomed to living in could be just as noticeable if you live in a warm climate instead of a cold one. So, no matter which region of the country you call home, there’s a good chance that your back pain will go up when the temperature starts to dip lower during the year.

Knowing this, if you live in a city or town where you have to walk over icy sidewalks or shovel snow during the winter months, you do have an increased risk for experiencing a back injury, sprains, or muscle spasms. This is why it’s critical that you know how to safely and effectively twist, lift, and bend to reduce your chances of needing a spinal surgeon to fix your chronic back pain. You’ll also want to invest in shoes that give you a better grip on icy surfaces. It’s also a good idea to be extra cautious when you head out.

2. There is Increased Back Injury Risk with Colder Temperatures

First off; there is no known solid connection between back pain and barometric pressure. However, your chances of having a back injury do go up as the temperature dips. A lot of people claim to experience neck, back, or joint pain when the temperature starts to fall quickly or just before it storms. This implies that their bodies can register changes in the barometric pressure. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to provide a connection between back pain and barometric pressure changes.

One thing you should note is that when you get cold, the tendons, muscles, and ligaments in your back tend to tighten up and get less flexible. In turn, this makes you much more prone to injuries that can turn into a severe cases of back pain. You could potentially avoid back pain in colder weather by wearing the right clothing to help keep you warm, stay active, stretch regularly, and employ simple techniques to prevent falls.

3. Gloomy Weather can Impact Depression and Aggravate Chronic Pain

Fewer hours of sunlight, colder weather, and holiday-related stressors can take a big toll on your mental health and overall emotional wellbeing during the long winter months. Some people have a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and this is a seasonal depression. Depressive symptoms can increase how sensitive you are to back pain. So, it makes sense that you’d have more back pain during the winter months as your depressive symptoms get worse.

4. Less Exercise in Colder Days Can Contribute to Back Pain

If you’re someone who likes to exercise outside, it can be difficult to continue with your normal routine as the snow and ice pile up. An evening run or morning bike ride can be dangerous or uncomfortable as it gets dark out or if it’s cold or wet outside. This leads many people to start avoiding exercise, and this is a recipe for increased back pain.

You should consider switching to indoor exercises like aerobics or yoga, or you could swim in a heated pool at your local gym. Working out to YouTube videos or getting on a stationary bicycle are also options. Staying active throughout the winter months can help lower your back pain and your need for a spinal surgeon.

Four Ways to Reduce Climate-Related Back Pain

You won’t have to pick up and move to a warmer climate just to help with your back pain. However, there are a few things you can do to minimize your back pain during the cooler months.

  • Balance Your Diet – Try to reduce how many inflammation-causing foods you have in your diet like fried foods, red meats, processed starches, and sugars.
  • Stay Well Hydrated – Drinking a lot of water is important to your spine health, and you want to avoid alcohol as it can dehydrate you.
  • Find a Hobby – A hobby can help distract you from your back pain, and it can also cause your body to release endorphins. These are natural painkillers, and they can be a powerful help when you combine them with how distracted your hobby gets you.
  • Get Out in the Sun – Natural light can help lessen your depression symptoms so it won’t aggravate your chronic pain issues.

Contact Florida Spine Associates for a Spinal Surgeon Consultation

If you need a spinal surgeon to help with your low back pain, Florida Spine Associates can help. We invite you to contact us to set up a consultation with a spine surgeon that is experienced and knowledgeable in helping pinpoint your back issues and outline a treatment plan.