Back pain in winter is a common problem faced by people across the world. Know why it happens and how to prevent back ache in cold weather.

Besides a runny nose and frost bites, backache is another side effect of exposure in winter. Believe it or not, backaches due to cold weather are as common as it gets, and there are research-backed reason for why this happens. Know all about back pain in winter and how it can be prevented with small lifestyle changes.

A study published in Ergonomics suggests that exposure to the cold can have an impact on your body in the form of neck pain, low back pain and lumbar radiculopathy or inflammation of nerve roots in the lower back. Additionally, cold can cause musculoskeletal disorders as well. So, if you have been suffering from backache due to the cold weather, fret not, as here are some tips to resolve your pain.

Why does my back pain in winter?

Cold weather and backache are connected as the low temperatures cause the muscles supporting the back to become tense and stiff. This tension leads to muscle contractions, making basic activities more likely to result in increased fatigue and strain, explains orhopedist Dr Kumardev Arvind Rajamanya.

To add to this, we often find ourselves sitting in odd poses to feel warm! “Individuals often adopt poor postures, such as slouching, to stay warm, further contributing to neck and back pain,” he says.

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However, if you feel that your runny nose is causing you backache, it might not be! “While having a cold may not directly cause backache, the overall impact of cold weather on the body can contribute to back pain. The muscles, when exposed to cold, tend to become stiff and tense, increasing the likelihood of strains and discomfort,” says Dr Rajamanya.

A woman feeling sad.
Feeling low in winters can cause back ache as well. Image courtesy: Freepik

Besides this, it is natural to feel low during the winter, thanks to the gloominess around, right? A study published in the National Institute of Mental Health, points to the fact that seasonal changes can bring about mood swings, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). One of the symptoms of SAD is aches and pains, and thus, this can be what’s causing you that back ache as well.

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Also Read: Feeling sad and gloomy in winter? Nosh on these foods to kick depression away

How to prevent backache due to cold weather?

If you have been searching the internet for ways to avoid backache due to cold weather, here are some tips to try:

1. Frequent mobility

Avoid prolonged immobility in one posture. Regularly change positions to prevent muscle stiffness.

2. Wear layered clothing

Wear layered clothing to keep warm and minimize exposure to cold, preventing excessive muscle contraction.

3. Warm water baths

Take warm water baths, especially before sleep, to relax muscles and reduce stiffness.

4. Room heater use

Employ a room heater to maintain a warm environment, preventing muscles from becoming excessively stiff in the cold.

5. Good Posture

Make a conscious effort to maintain good posture, avoiding slouching or hunching, which can contribute to back pain.

A woman feeling cold.
Winters can cause one to slouch in odd poses, leading to back ache. Image courtesy: Freepik

6. Warm fomentations

If predisposed to conditions like arthritis or spondylosis, use warm fomentations to maintain muscle suppleness, and decrease stiffness. This would serve as an effective treatment for back ache as well.

7. Hydration

Stay adequately hydrated to reduce muscle fatigue, thereby minimizing the likelihood of soreness and stiffness.

8. Consume a balanced diet

Opt for small, frequent meals to prevent overeating, particularly on fatty or fried foods that can impact muscle metabolism and lead to inflammation and pain.

Besides these options, taking it easy, and avoiding stress would be a helpful way to deal with the bitter cold days as well. Managing your emotional health will help with SAD, and will surely make you feel better and energised.

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