How Does Cold Weather Affect Back Pain?

There are a variety of outside factors that can potentially affect the intensity and frequency of back pain. One of the more widely known and studied factors is the weather. Many people tend to experience back pain more frequently during the winter months. In this article we are going to discuss the reasons why this may happen.

How Can Colder Weather Cause Back Pain?

Colder weather has been proven to be correlated with the tightening of tendons and ligaments located near the spine. This tightness can reduce flexibility and potentially cause inflammation. Both of these reactions to cold weather increase the likelihood of experiencing back pain. There are also additional reasons why back pain can be more prevalent throughout the winter season.

snowy trees

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.

In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.

National Institute of Mental Health

People who experience depression linked to SAD are at a greater risk of experiencing back pain due to the physical factors this disorder can influence. For example, many people going through this form of depression are less likely to take part in physical activities and exercise. This may deteriorate physical health, leaving the body more susceptible to back pain.

woman in bed sneezing into tissue

Cold Weather Illnesses

As we all unfortunately know, with the winter comes cold and flu season. These sicknesses often include symptoms of bodily aches, especially within the upper regions of the body. The strenuous breathing caused by illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia can also cause back pain due to its effect on the surrounding muscles. On top of that, lying in bed sick for days or even weeks takes a toll on your physical health, potentially intensifying the pain. Whenever possible, it is important to practice proper posture in order to mitigate the pain and help prevent it from worsening.

Preventing and Alleviating Cold Weather Induced Back Pain

Along with practicing proper posture as we have just mentioned, there are other effective ways to prevent and treat the back pain associated with cold weather. And chiropractic therapy can definitely help. At Merckling Family Chiropractic, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan best suited to your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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