Why Does Back Pain Get Worse In the Winter?

cold weather back pain

It is often believed that back pain worsens during the colder months. Do you feel that your back pain gets worse during the Winter months? Many people believe that cold weather exasperates the pain from back issues. and we will discuss whether this is true.

Several studies have found correlations between cold weather pain. One study found that when comparing workers who worked in colder temperatures to workers who worked indoors, the workers working in colder temperatures reported more instances of back and neck pain.

Why Does Colder Weather Cause Back Pain?

During cold temperatures a process called vasoconstriction happens in the body. Vasoconstriction causes blood vessels to narrow in the extremities so that extra blood is diverted to the heart, lungs, brain and bowels to keep them warm. This process causes some of the muscles, tendons and ligaments to stiffen due to receiving less blood.  Back pain is mostly caused by strains and injuries to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support it rather than injury to the spine itself. Therefore, when the muscles, tendons and ligaments are stiff, there is additional strain put on the spine and sensitive nerve roots thereby causing pain.

The darker, colder Winter months also increase the occurrence of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Research has also shown that people with SAD also have aggravated back pain during the colder months.

How to  Avoid Back Pain During the Colder Months

If you want to avoid or reduce back pain during the colder months try to keep yourself warm at all times, indoors and outdoors. When outdoors, wear extra layers and keep your back and neck covered by wearing a scarf and tucking in your shirt. At home, be sure to keep the heat turned up and even invest in an electric blanket if need be. Finally, exercise is a great way to ward off back pain and seasonal depression. Make sure to stay active during the Winter months with activities such as swimming, walking or indoor aerobic activity.

If you have back pain come and see us in our office and we can help you. Make an appointment here!

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