Colder Weather Does Affect Chronic Lower Back Pain

By David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DABCSP, DAAPM

cold-weather-back-pain-blog-photoIf you have noticed that cold weather worsens your pain, you are not alone. According to a recent study by the European Project on OsteoArthritis (EPOSA) of 800 people with arthritis, 67% stated that the weather adversely affected their pain. In another study published on PLoS One by Penny Moss, those who had arthritis reported greater sensitivity to cold and barometric pressure than control subjects without arthritis. It appears that chronic pain may alter the way nerves respond to stimuli, and increases their sensitivity.

If cold makes your pain worse, here are some things you can do:

  1. Utilize Heat Therapy– Heat decreases stiffness and promotes healing through increased circulation.
    • Apply moist heat packs, or a warm towel to the painful area for 20 minutes.
    • Use over the counter heat wraps. They provide heat for up to 8 hours. Good to use when going outdoors.
  2. Try Water Therapy– Swim and/or exercise in heated pools, soak in a whirlpool/spa.
  3. Stay Active- While it is tempting to hibernate in winter, and not exercise when in pain, its actually best to exercise.
  4. Dress warmly- When going outside wear many layers and keep your painful areas covered.

Weather changes can not be avoided, but you can take steps to mitigate its effects on your back and painful areas.

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, call the Back & Neck Pain Center for help at 631-686-2565.

David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital.

About Mather Hospital

Mather Hospital is an accredited 248-bed, non-profit community teaching hospital dedicated to providing a wide spectrum of health care services of the highest quality to the residents of Suffolk County in a cost effective manner. As members of the Mather Hospital Family - trustees, medical staff, hospital staff, volunteers and benefactors - we are committed to providing care to the best of our ability showing compassion and respect and treating each patient in the manner we would wish for our loved ones. We will meet or exceed each patient's expectations through the continued collaborative efforts of each and every member of the Mather Hospital Family.
This entry was posted in Back pain, Diseases & Conditions, Health & Wellness. Bookmark the permalink.

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