In Part 1 of this article, we looked at different weather factors that might affect your chronic neck pain. To briefly recap, there are largely two weather events that have been researched: cold temperatures and barometric pressure (air pressure).
The research overall has been inconclusive. Patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis were studied in varying weather conditions. Some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers were affected by low air pressure… others were affected by the cold.
Osteoarthritis patients often were less affected by the cold, but noticed more pain issues when a storm was approaching and the pressure dropped.
The bottom line is this: scientists have spent a lot of time studying this phenomenon and have been puzzled at every turn. Instinctively, those of us that suffer with chronic pain know that there are certain triggers making us hurt more.
Just ask any snowbird… they will tell you the same story… “I felt great out in Arizona, but as soon as I got back to Wisconsin – all hell broke loose.” Some factors to keep in mind are:
- When you live in a cold climate, you are less likely to be outside in the sun. This can cause your Vitamin D3 levels to plummet… and since D3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain levels will often surge.
- We often binge eat cookies, cakes and other sweets during the holidays… which can cause a “seasonal nutritional deficiency.” Sugar is a potent proinflammatory and raises pain levels in almost all chronic pain sufferers.
- Inclement weather lowers our activity levels. We just sit around more. One of the best treatments for achy joints is to keep moving. Notice I didn’t say “exercise”… because that really isn’t necessary. For example, take breaks from your desk job every hour… get up and walk around for a couple of minutes. Same goes for watching TV.
If you would like to read Part 1 of the article, just click here.
4 FACTS ABOUT WINTER WEATHER AND CHRONIC NECK PAIN
The temperatures are dropping… and you’ve started to notice that familiar ache in your neck is happening all too often. You assume the two things are connected – cold weather and achiness – and hope that you won’t be racked with pain all winter.
Understanding the how and why winter weather affects your neck is the first step to lessening your pain. With this in mind, here are some important facts about neck pain:
1. It’s not necessarily tied to geography: OK… maybe the snowbirds aren’t right! At Stop Neck Pain Naturally, we have patients from all over the country… besides our home state of Wisconsin. But our local patients can tell you that chronic neck pain simply doesn’t disappear when you move to a southern climate. Also, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the colder the climate, the more likely you are to suffer with chronic neck pain at a particular time of year.
The fact is that our bodies tend to adjust to the climate in which we live… so temperature changes which we have become accustomed to may be equally noticeable – either warmer or colder. In other words, no matter where you live, you have a good chance of having more neck pain when the temperature dips.
- Cold temperatures are more likely to cause neck injuries: one thing we do know is that when you’re cold, the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your neck tighten and become less flexible. This makes you much more prone to injuries that, in turn, lead to even more neck pain. The point is this: winter neck problems may be avoidable if you wear the right clothing to keep your neck warm. Also, stretch regularly (see our video here for suggested exercises) and try to stay active.
- Dark and gloomy days in winter can cause depression: and depression can cause or aggravate chronic neck pain. Some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a type of seasonal depression. This disorder is treatable in a number of natural ways… including spending 30 minutes in front of a daylight lamp several times per week or using the herb St. John’s Wort.
- Shorter, colder days may turn you into a couch potato: and the lack of exercise can be a formula for neck pain. If you’re someone who enjoys skiing or other outdoor exercise, it can be tough to maintain your normal workouts in winter. After all, that early morning jog may be uncomfortable or dangerous when it’s dark, wet and cold outside. But avoiding exercise is the worst thing you can do for your aching neck in winter. A possible solution is to try yoga, swimming, aerobics or other indoor exercises. A stationary bike is another good solution. You will be surprised at how much better you’ll feel… more energy and less pain… just by staying active all winter long
And, if all else fails, do what I do… go on a cruise!
Here’s the conclusion: only you know how your body is affected by bad weather. But… you are not helpless to just sit around and suffer. Experiment with different exercises, different stretches, perhaps a hot bath, etc. Don’t just give up and assume you have to live in pain! NEVER… GIVE… UP!
PS: If you would like more information on ways to treat chronic neck pain… we are offering a FREE “Chronic Neck Pain Survival Guide” E-book for a limited time. It has tips, tricks and pain hacks to get fast and permanent relief. Just click here.