How Cold Weather Impacts Pain
If you are feeling like you are in more pain now with the cold weather setting in, you are not in the minority.
Over the last couple of weeks as the cold feels like it is here to stay, it seems everyone is complaining more about being stiff, sore and tight. It isn't hard to figured out why. Tomorrow is supposed to be -10 and I've already been told twice this morning by patients that they are not leaving their house tomorrow. While in theory it seems like a pretty reasonable idea when it is that cold, imagine what you are putting your body through. Even simply going to the grocery store requires you to get up, walk, bend over versus mold your body further into the sitting position. The more days you spend "not leaving your house because it is cold", the more pain you will cause yourself and the more activity you will need to do to restore balance to your body. Maybe the solution is setting a timer every hour to take a 10 minute stretch break, making it a goal to run two errands, adding a mid-day exercise routine or simply buttoning up, embracing winter and going on a quick 15 minute walk.
On top of the lack of activity when it is cold, it is important to pay attention to your posture when it is cold. Are your shoulders in your ears? Are you hunched over shivering? I don't know how many times I had to tell myself last week to relax my shoulders and bring them back and down. If you don't have some way of continually reminding yourself to keep your posture in check, the default will be postures that put a lot of pressure on your neck and shoulders and create tight shortened muscles long after the winter has turned to spring.
Being mindful of upping the activity and leaving your house when every bit of your DNA is telling you to hibernate will help your body from becoming stiffer. Paying attention to your posture in cold weather will keep that hunched over posture from becoming entrenched in your habits and help you feel better as well.