When the weather is frigid and gloomy one week and moderate and sunny the next, you know we’ve made it to March. Though even this earliest sign of spring brings feelings of anticipation for most people, for others, seasonal weather change means one thing: pervasive back pain. The first step to reducing seasonal back pain is to understand how and why weather changes affect your spine. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll know just what to do when seasonal weather change gives you back pain.
Cold Weather & Back Pain
No matter where you live, warm climate or cold, you’ll find sufferers of seasonal and chronic back pain. For those of us living in northeastern Illinois, this means that packing up and moving to Florida long-term won’t fix the problem – though you may notice some relief while on Spring Break! Over time, our bodies adjust to the climate we’re living in, so any dips in weather equal back pain, no matter the starting temperature or the degree of the dip.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the weather itself that causes back pain. Most evidence of weather affecting back pain is anecdotal; scientifically, there’s not much evidence linking temperature changes to back pain. Some scientific studies actually conflict on this point. Some studies say there is a link, while others have found no link at all. That’s not to say that your back pain doesn’t exist! Instead, scientists are starting to find connections between changes in barometric pressure and pain. Barometric pressure – or atmospheric pressure – is the weight of the atmosphere around you. Barometric pressure is usually imperceptible, but cold, damp weather can make for a sudden drop in pressure. Decreased pressure causes the body’s tissues to expand and press against joints and structures in the back, and you’ll recognize that the pressure dropped with the return of your consistent back pain.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that fluctuating temperatures do not cause an actual back injury. Rather, your joints and/or ligaments are already inflamed from some kind of injury, whether recently or in the past. The extra swelling from inflammation stretches over soft tissue and membranes in and surrounding the joints. Then, when the barometric pressure drops, this fluid surrounding the joint expands, thus causing the body’s tissues and membranes to stretch even further. This chain reaction means that your pain nerve fibers are irritated – and you’re all of a sudden acutely aware of your back pain.
Seasonal Weather & Chiropractic Care
Surprisingly, this is good news for you. Since tissues in the body must already be experiencing inflammation for weather changes to cause pain (otherwise your whole body would ache with seasonal weather changes), the simple solution is to remove inflammation through chiropractic care. For the majority of people suffering from back pain, inflammation is caused by subluxation(s). Subluxations – misalignments of the vertebrae – can be corrected with spinal adjustment at Van Ness Chiropractic, thereby significantly decreasing inflammation and eliminating pain at the root of the problem. Instead of masking seasonal back pain this spring with pain medication, get rid of the pain altogether.
The chiropractors at Van Ness Chiropractic provide an integrated approach to back pain that is direct and efficient – Drs. Van Ness, Parkin and Sabri understand that you don’t have time or patience for health concerns. Because Van Ness Chiropractic offers chiropractic care, medical massage therapy and customized rehabilitation, we’re able to get to the root cause of your pain – and quickly! Call (847) 842-8070 or click here to request an appointment with us this week.