3 Myths About Cold Weather and Back Pain
As the temperatures continue to dip lower, many may find themselves suffering from an increase in back pain. While it’s tempting to attribute the discomfort to the frigid weather, that self-diagnosis may not be quite accurate. Do colder temperatures affect back pain? Do they cause symptoms to appear that would otherwise lie dormant? Here are the most common myths concerning the relation between cold weather and an increase in discomfort.
Cold Weather is the Source of Back Pain
While it may be easy to write back pain off as an undesirable side-effect to winter weather, this assumption is false. Painful sensations are simply an indication that an individual is suffering from an underlying condition. Cold weather may exacerbate the underlying issue, causing individuals suffering from certain afflictions to experience an increase in pain. One should not tie this discomfort to the falling temperatures, but rather to the fact that the weather may be aggravating an underlying issue.
Cold Temperatures Increase Back Pain
Many people with back pain complain that a change in the weather exacerbates their symptoms. While this assumption has validity, pain increase is not necessarily attributed to falling temperatures alone. When temperatures drop, a marked change in barometric pressure occurs. This change in atmospheric pressure may be the true culprit behind the increased pain.
Colder weather creates a decrease in this pressure, causing tissues in the body to expand. When this occurs, the expanded tissue may exert pressure on the joints and surrounding tissues, resulting in increased discomfort. Many suffering from arthritis may notice that this change in pressure increases the severity of symptoms. Similarly, those living at or visiting higher altitudes may experience an increase in symptoms.
Living in Warm Climates Will Decrease Back Pain
It may seem logical that moving to a warmer climate could potentially reduce pain associated with lower temperatures, but warm weather is not a symptom-reduction guarantee. While a vacation is short enough in duration to notice decreased symptoms, a permanent move will allow the body adequate time to adjust to the change in pressure. When this acclimation occurs, pain symptoms may resume, irrespective of the climate change. Regardless of the locale, the underlying condition that is the real source of discomfort will continue to inflict pain.
For those who find their symptoms increase during the winter months, be cautious when attributing pain to the weather. Consulting with a qualified professional to discover the actual source of discomfort can ensure the proper course of action is taken to provide lasting relief. Marc Cohen specializes in minimally-invasive procedures and has experience working with individuals of New Jersey to help seek resolution of their chronic back pain. Contact us at one of our many locations to schedule your appointment today.