By David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DABCSP, DAAPM
If 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:
- 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.
- Try Water Therapy– Swim and/or exercise in heated pools, soak in a whirlpool/spa.
- Stay Active- While it is tempting to hibernate in winter, and not exercise when in pain, its actually best to exercise.
- 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 Mather Hospital.