Does Cold Weather Affect Your Neck?
Sydney Winters… they can be unpredictable!
One day its 18degs and we are all standing in the Winter sun saying what a beautiful day it is; and the next it’s raining, windy and there’s that cold snap coming off the ocean that seems to make 13degs feel like 5.
During the colder months, it is increasingly common for people who experience chronic pain, arthritis, and neck and back pain to complain of, and present with worsening symptoms.
Often clients will come in and say “the colder weather is making my neck flare up” – but is it just a placebo from the rainy overcast skies and lower temps… or is there really a link?
Research is yet to provide us with a clear answer – however several studies have suggested that drops in barometric pressures that accompany lower temps causes our joints to swell. Other studies have pointed to the bodies’ changes that occur in the cold, such as our blood vessels constricting to keep you warm. And then even further from “mainstream” are those studies that have simply titled it ‘superstition’.
Colder temps and fewer hours of sunlight have been shown to affect your emotional wellbeing. There is research to suggest some people experience “seasonal affective disorder” which is classed as a seasonal depression; which inturn can increase their sensitivity to back pain.
Or perhaps the colder, rainy, shorter days in winter discourage us from exercising and we all know that we should be moving!!
From a clinical point of view I certainly see far more neck pain presentations in the colder months. Such presentations as headaches, stiffness in the neck, reduced movement and pain.
HOW DO WE TREAT SORE NECKS?
- Joint mobilisations
- Dry needling
- Heat packs
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
WHAT CAN YOU DO AT HOME?
- Grab a hot pack apply it to the affected area for 15-20minutes at a time.
- Hop in a warm bath, grab a glass of wine and relax.
- Remain active – this increases blood flow and improves joint health.