Why Does Cold Weather Make Back Pain Worse?

Maybe you’ve heard before that people with achy joints or arthritis can predict a cold snap coming long before the local weather man. Have you ever wondered why this is? Or maybe you yourself suffer from back pain that seems to get worse every time winter strikes and the temperature drops below freezing. What exactly is happening in the body here?

Well, first of all the technical name for this condition is “cold allodynia” and scientists have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause or reason behind it. However, there are several ideas floating out there about exactly why this happens.

Dr. John Parenti, with the Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania, believes that the cause is related to barometric pressure on your joints. There are many receptors in your bodies nerve endings. These detect things like texture, temperature, and of course pressure. However, these nerve endings may also pick up on changes in barometric pressure in the air and respond, in some people, with a pain reaction.

Other studies, done by Japanese researchers on rats have led others to conclude that the part of the body that senses barometric change is actually in the inner ear area, which may disprove the idea that joint pain from cold weather is a result of barometric pressure.

Other ideas suggest that the pain may be the result of trapped nerves. Following an injury, surgery, or any other significant physical event in life, it is not uncommon for certain nerves in the body to be out of place and more susceptible to pain and pressure changes.

The pain may even be caused by tense muscles surrounding the nerves. It is no secret that cold weather can make your muscles contract and tense up. Perhaps tense muscles constrict around nerves during times of cold weather and result in pain from trapped nerves.

So what can you do about back pain during cold weather? Well, the first thing you can do is to keep warm and bundle up. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather such as thick coats, gloves, and hats. Extra layers are extremely helpful.

I have also heard that you can get one of those body trimmer belts and a fitness store. These belts are designed to keep heat in to help slim you down, but you can use this to help keep you warm too during the colder months. Simply slip it on before you go outside and you’ll find that your core is much warmer throughout the day.

And lastly, make sure you do plenty of stretches to keep your body loose and limber. It is easy to injure yourself in cold weather. To minimize this risk, be sure to stretch and stay flexible, especially if you’re going to be doing any sort of exercise outside such as shoveling snow.

If you wear appropriate clothing, perhaps slip on a body trimming belt to help keep your body heat in, and make sure you stretch before going out into the cold, you can help to reduce the risks of back pain caused by cold weather.