How To Relieve Lower Back Pain During Cold Weather
Always try to keep your environment at a reasonable temperature. Once you have achieved this and it is cold outside, you will probably just want to curl up on the sofa instead. However, this type of sedentary lifestyle causes stiffness and tension and leaves you susceptible to injury.
If you plan on going outside for a walk whilst you are experiencing lower back pain, it is important to make sure that you wrap up warm to stay protected from the cold. Dress appropriately for the weather outside. Even shivering from the cold can cause the muscles to feel tight or cramped.
Watch your step outside, keeping an eye out for any potential slipping hazards. If it is too cold outside to take a walk, then try some simple exercises and stretches at home to help rehabilitate the spine and reduce your lower back pain.
Staying in shape is the best way to help your lower back pain as exercise helps to improve your posture, ease back pain, and prevent muscular issues. If your body doesnt get enough exercise, then you begin to not only lose strength but stability and flexibility too. Exercise has also been proven to strengthen the immune system and improve mental health.
For more advice on how cold weather affects the body and how to relieve the symptoms, read our blog on what causes cold weather joint pain or talk to a chiropractor at Backworks. We also offer online chiropractic consultations so that you can speak to an expert from the comfort of your own home!
Are There Psychological Factors That Drive Morning Pain
The book Back Sense proposes that morning back pain is caused by stressful night-time mental patterns manifesting as back pain. I do not generally dismiss the role of psychology in back pain. Its actually a major theme in my writing about back pain. See The Mind Game in Low Back Pain. But I do think that author is indulging in a simplistic mind-body connection theory. Ive written crankily about this kind of logic elsewhere .
Its a bit of a reach to say that you have such a problematic, pain-causing mental state like clockwork every morning between 6am and 7am exclusively. Applying How to Simplify Chronic Pain Puzzles to the problem, it is much more likely that there is simply a time limit on how long you can lie in bed without tissue crankiness.
What To Do If You Suspect Something Else
Theres only one major tiphere: See a doctor, whether it is your primary care physician or aspecialist. Each condition that mimics spinal problems comes with its own treatments,but the first step is an accurate diagnosis. For example, a nerve test such aselectromyography can help a doctor spot neuropathy, and a blood-flow testsuch as the ankle-brachial index can distinguish between spinal stenosisand peripheral arterial disease.
Its so important to look atall of your symptoms and history and do a thorough examination, Dr. Khalafsays. Its how we can tell the difference between a back issue and a medicalcondition.
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Change Up Your Sleep Position Or Mattress
Switching to a more supportive sleep position can reduce lower back pain. Also consider how you can use pillows or invest in a new mattress to support better spinal alignment and relieve lower back pain.
Research suggests medium firm mattresses are the best mattresses for back pain. In one study of people with low back pain, those who slept on medium firm mattresses reported lower pain scores both during sleep and upon getting up in the morning.
How To Improve Flexibility And Strength
There are lots of simple stretches and exercises you can do to improve flexibility and strength in your lower back.
Focus on lengthening and extending the spine. This helps to relieve compression in the lower back. Stretching the hamstrings is also beneficial.
In addition, you should choose exercises that focus on working the hips, core, and gluteal muscles.
Doing daily activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga is recommended. Put forth dedicated effort into being active as often as possible. Consistently doing exercises and activities to loosen up your lower back will usually yield positive results within a few weeks.
Here are nine exercises you can add to your daily routine to help strengthen your lower back and improve flexibility.
This exercise increases flexibility, relieves tension, and helps to loosen the lower back and hip muscles. You can also engage your core muscles if comfortable.
- erector spinae
- pelvic muscles
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Why Does My Neck & Back Feel Cold
There are a lot of health issues which can start with minor symptoms. Neck and back take a lot of physical pressure/strain every day. With the changes in routine nowadays, it is very common to feel stiffness and pain in neck and back. Anything that is happening to your neck and back can be related to a number of organs in your body. In case you are feeling a cold sensation on the neck and back continuously, it can be a beginning of a major health issue. Such sensation is generally caused by a disease known as peripheral neuropathy.
Main Causes Of Morning Back Pain
Why is back pain worst first thing in the morning, and what can you do about it?
I woke up with it is an amazingly common description of how low back pain started.
Why? Is sleeping dangerous? Probably not: waking up with back pain rarely indicates a serious problem. But both mornings and backs are unusually vulnerable to some common minor sources of pain.
This is mostly about chronic back pain thats at its worst in the morning, a common symptom pattern. People who are more or less pain-free during the day may still suffer for a while every day after waking up. But attacks of acute back pain are also much more common in the first few hours of the day see Steffens et al.2 and that phenomenon may be related to why chronic back pain tends to be bad in the morning.
Morning back pain is a tough problem to treat because most of it probably has several subtle chronic causes, but there may be some opportunities for treatment.
Is pain & stiffness your alarm clock? Do you bail out of bed early every morning with low back pain, neck pain & more?
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Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Can’t stand or walk
- Temperature over 101.0°F
- Frequent, painful, or bloody urination
- Severe belly pain
- Pain or numbness in your leg
- Pain in a new area of your back
- The pain isnt decreasing after more than a week
- Pain radiating down the leg.
- Pain that is accompanied by fever or chills, leg weakness, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels.
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Lower Right Back Pain Symptoms
The back provides both strength and stability to the entire body, leaving it vulnerable to many kinds of injury. It’s possible for even severe back pain to be confined to just one side of the back. When the pain is entirely on the lower right side, it may suggest a specific type of injury or illness, and it’s important to have it examined. Low back pain is also called lumbago or sciatica.
The Scariest Type Of Morning Back Pain: Inflammatory Back Pain
The closest thing to back pain that is truly prominent in the morning is inflammatory back pain , or spondyloarthritis.3 Although IBP is well known to medical science, it often eludes diagnosis, its biology is mysterious, and morning symptoms specifically are a stumper, as unexplained as joints that ache before a storm. Its just something IBP does.
But dont panic! Although studies have confirmed that morning is a common time for inflammatory back pain to flare up, they have also shown that the connection is not strong or exclusive.4 In fact, most morning stiffness and pain is not pathologically inflammatory. Its just that IBP is the only official morning back pain culprit.
The pain of IBP tends to be quite severe. If its not actually waking you up, its probably not IBP, or its a minor case.
When should you consider the possibility of IBP? Basically if your morning back is particularly bad: nasty and very consistent morning symptoms. The diagnosis is also more likely if you have other signs of this kind of back pain. Heres a good inflammatory back pain quiz, and heres my own quick checklist of reasons to ask your doctor about spondyloarthritis:5
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Poor Quality Sleep And Insomnia Are Probably Major Causes Of Morning Back Pain
Dont get me wrong: some people sleep just fine and still have morning back pain. But poor quality sleep and pain tend definitely to go together,15 and mornings can be the roughest part of that link.
The more interesting question is the chicken/egg thing: which comes first? Pain or sleeplessness? Once you have both insomnia and pain, they surely cause each other, but one side of that equation is probably more important than the other, like a cyclist pushing much harder on one pedal than the other.
In 2017, Gerhart et al studied the which-came-first question of pain and insomnia in 105 chronic low back pain patients.16 Their subjects bravely filled out five detailed questionnaires per day for two weeks thats quite a lot of paperwork tracking and rating many aspects of their pain and sleep quality. The goal was to study lagged temporal associations: what tends to happen after what? Are bad sleeps often followed by bad days with back pain? Are rough days with back pain followed by lousy sleeps?
Yes and no to those two questions.
Poorer sleep was strongly linked to everything being worse which is about as surprising as a dog barking at a squirrel. Its the timing of that relationship that this study zoomed in on, and not only did a bad night clearly herald trouble across the board the next day more pain, more disability, more doom and gloom but especially during the early part of the day.
Lower Back Pain: How To Tell If Its Muscle
When a patient visits my office with back pain, its my job to uncover the pain generator. We talk through the patients history, discuss their symptoms, and make a determination as to next steps. If need be, I prepare their case to be looked at by a surgeon, but generally, my goal is to help patients avoid surgery and find relief with more conservative measures.
Most cases of back pain are not caused by serious conditions. But its important to always rule out the possibility that a patient has another internal issue that mimics back pain . Colitis, kidney stones, gallbladder issues, vascular problems, or an aneurysm are examples of serious conditions that are capable of causing pain to radiate into the back, making it feel like youre experiencing back pain.
A thorough fact-finding investigation should help determine the cause. When did the pain start? How long did it last? What makes it better or worse? Key to determining the pain generator is the patients description of their condition and their medical history. For example, if a patient describes the pain as having come on suddenly and causing nausea, nearly prompting a trip to the emergency room, then disappearing just as suddenly, they may be suffering from a kidney stone rather than back pain from a spinal condition.
- Muscle pain
- Disc pain
Lets take a look at each type in more detail.
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Muscle Tightness In Thighs And Hips
Weve talked before about how hamstring stretches can help alleviate back pain. Tight hamstrings are short hamstrings, and these muscles connect to your lower back. Tightness in your hamstrings can affect the curvature of your lower spine, disrupting the precise alignment of your spine with your pelvis.
Hamstrings may be tight as a result of physical activity, injury, or a failure to stretch before and after exercising. Luckily this problem can be easy to manage at home with some targeted stretching. If you need some help getting started, a physical therapist can help guide you through some basic movements.
Medical Conditions That Cause Back Pain
Conditions that can cause back pain include:
- a slipped disc this can cause back pain and numbness, tingling and weakness in other parts of the body
- sciatica this can cause pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet
- ankylosing spondylitis this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement
- spondylolisthesis this can cause lower back pain and stiffness, as well as numbness and a tingling sensation
These conditions are treated differently to non-specific back pain.
Very rarely, back pain can be a sign of a serious problem such as:
- a broken bone in the spine
- an infection
- cauda equina syndrome
- some types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma
If you see a GP with back pain, they’ll look for signs of these.
Page last reviewed: 14 January 2020 Next review due: 14 January 2023
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Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
Does Your Back Feel Stiff Well It May Not Actually Be Stiff Study Finds
- University of Alberta
- The feeling of stiffness in your back may mean something else is going, warns a new report.
“My back feels so stiff!” We often hear our friends say.
Well, that doesn’t mean your friend’s back is actually stiff, according to a new study at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
“A conscious experience of feeling stiff does not reflect true biomechanical back stiffness,” explained Greg Kawchuk, professor and back and spine expert in the Department of Physical Therapy. “When we use the same word, stiffness, to describe a feeling and how we measure actual stiffness, we assume these words are describing the same thing. But that is not always the case.”
In the study, Kawchuk and his team asked participants how stiff their backs felt to them. After that, using a customized device, they measured just how stiff the back actually was.
“There was no relation between biomechanical stiffness and the reported feeling of stiffness,” he said. “What people describe as stiffness is something different than the measurement of stiffness.”
Tasha Stanton, lead author and senior research fellow of pain neuroscience at the University of South Australia, said that the feeling of stiffness may be a protective construct that is created by our nervous system.
“It’s our body’s way of protecting ourselves, possibly from strain, further injury or more pain,” she said.
It could mean they feel their movements are slower and more painful.”
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Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.