You know how people say they can predict the weather just from aches in their joints? While there’s no scientific evidence to back up such claims, it is true that aches and pains are heightened by colder temperatures, which is one of the reasons why there is an increase in neck pain in the winter. It’s why so many people dread the colder months, because they don’t want to have to deal with neck pain in the winter. Luckily, there are steps you can take to both reduce your risk of and to alleviate neck pain in the winter.
Why Neck Pain Increases In The Winter
Maybe you can’t predict blizzards, but cold weather does exacerbate neck pain in the winter for a number of reasons. Many of them have to do with how our bodies react to plummeting temperatures. For example, your muscles tighten up in order to constrict your blood vessels as a protective measure against heat loss. Your muscles being tight for an extended period of time can result in pain, because they’re not meant to be so tense all the time.
Your posture and your movement levels also impact neck pain in the winter. Many people slump and hunch over in order to conserve body heat, which puts your neck in an unnatural position. If it’s freezing, chances are that you’d rather be curled up inside with a good book and a steaming cup of your hot beverage of choice rather than exercising or moving around. Reduced activity levels lead to muscle and joint stiffness, which can lead to your neck hurting.
One of the most annoying causes for neck pain in the winter is how the very things that keep us warm when we leave the house can be increasing the strain on our necks – coats and scarves and hats. This added weight can put more stress on your neck, especially if you’re bundling up in a way that doesn’t hold your head over your spine, but instead causes your chin to just out. Talk about a catch 22.
Maybe winter increases your risk of neck pain, but you can best that pesky bugger through a number of methods.
Preventing Neck Pain In The Winter
Neck pain can be avoided and alleviated in multiple ways. Here are some of the ways you can prevent neck pain this winter.
- Bundle up properly!
When you’re wrapping scarves around your neck, make sure that you’re not inadvertently putting your neck out of proper alignment. Your neck should be over your spine – not in front of or behind it.
- Don’t sit for too long.
Tempting, isn’t it? When it’s cold, many people are more sedentary than normal. Making sure you are sitting up straight and getting up to walk around every half hour or so can reduce the strain on your neck, especially if you’re prone to slouching when you sit.
- Stretch your neck.
Stretching is one of the best ways to increase strength and mobility and reduce risk of injury and pain. Neck stretches are simple and can be done even sat in front of the TV. They’re an excellent way to alleviate strain on your spine and reduce pain.
- Stay hydrated!
Chances are, you’re probably reaching for hot drinks more often than not. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, though! Your spinal disks are mainly water, so staying hydrated will help to keep your spine in good condition, which dominoes into reducing neck pain.
Neck pain in the winter needn’t be some unavoidable horror. You can work to prevent it! Sometimes, though, either through conditions like chronic pain, or other circumstances, you can’t. Or maybe you suffer from it and didn’t know how to prevent it. Regardless, if you suffer from neck pain in the winter, you don’t have to just grin and bear it. Chiropractors can treat your neck pain and get you feeling better.
Chiropractic Care For Neck Pain
When you see a chiropractor for your neck pain, they’ll first conduct an assessment in order to determine the root cause of your pain and the best course of treatment for you. They will look to see any areas where your movement is restricted, check your spinal alignment, and consider your overall body mechanics. They’ll also want to know your history, to learn about any other underlying conditions and things to be aware of.
Chiropractors can then treat your neck pain in a variety of ways. They may use spinal manipulation to restore movement to your joints or manipulations to increase blood flow to your muscles, reducing tension. Massage is another way they can ease tense muscles, as well as other therapies like soft tissue therapy and trigger point therapy.
Your chiropractor will also guide you through stretches that you’ll be able to do on your own, as well. Your treatment options will be personalized to you.
Are You Suffering From Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a pain in the neck – but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Grant Chiropractic offers professional chiropractic services to alleviate your pain and get you back to feeling like yourself again. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today!