In winters when muscles stiffen and physical exercise is limited, instances of stiff backs, neck or joint pain too report a rise
At Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, a special OPD by spine specialists offered consultation to people experiencing back pain, spine problems and other orthopedic issues
Gurgaon, Dec, 2014:As temperatures drop and winds turn chilly, a number of factors lead to increasing pain and discomfort in the body specially the back, knee and other joints.Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon today organized a special day-long OPD dedicated to people experiencing pain or discomfort in the back and spine. The spine specialists offered free consultation to patients and advised them on protecting their back and ways to keep their muscles and nerves active and flexible in the winters. They are also continuing their initiative and have declared every Wednesday of the week as a Free Consultation day.
The change in weather acts on the body in multiple ways. In lower temperatures the nerve endings in our body become extra sensitive even to minor pain stimuli. Now, the nerve endings are responsible for all sensations, including pain. This is why in winters, even a small scratch or a minor hit gives so much more pain. Another reason is that the cold stiffens the muscles and increases the chances of pain or strain. At a time when our muscles need more physical exercise to warm them up, we tend to become indoor animals, confined in blankets and beds. This further gives us pain in the back and joints in winters. Less exercise leaves your body vulnerable to low back pain.
At the OPD, doctors examined people, sifted the ones with more serious problems from those with minor sprains and aches, and advised them for the course ahead.
“Back pain is becoming very common and affects people of all ages and genders. Some back aches may be due to a single injury or minor injuries occurring over a long period of time, others may be due to muscular tension or sprain. The former should never be ignored as spine injuries can lead to more severe consequences if left unhealed. However, in winters a lot of people experience pain in the back due to muscular stiffness or sprain which needs mild medication and a physical routine as a recourse,” says Dr Arun Bhanot, Chief of Spine Services, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon
All people who have played sports in some point in their lives know the importance of warm up before launching into aggressive activity. After long hours of inactivity, muscles tend to stiffen and immediately launching rigorous activity may cause a tear or sprain.
“In winters, when the temperatures are low, the need for warming up increases even further. However, people become all the more sedentary and even forego their daily walking and jogging routines. Sometimes, they then suddenly launch into a rigorous action like pulling a piece of furniture, shifting mattresses or indulging in a game after several days of inactivity. Picking up a child from ground while bending is another such activity. These all are responsible for sprains and tears in muscles,” added Dr Arun Bhanot, Chief of Spine Services, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
Measures to Prevent Back Pain due to Changing Weather:
- Warm Up Your Muscles: Muscles may get injured when they are suddenly launched into a rigorous activity without a prior notice. Mild exercise and stretching serves as a warm up to the muscles. When the weather is cold, the stiffness and tightness in the muscles increases even further. This is why we should keep moving and exercising in winter rather than seek cover under blankets all the time. Keep your daily workout routine intact. Warm up by stretching and light lifting every day before you begin the day. In fact, a small two-minute stretching program can be undertaken right in the bed before one puts his feet on the ground.
- Cover Yourself up Well: Exposure to chilly winds can also exacerbate pain sometimes. Always cover yourself in layers of clothing to keep the body heat from escaping.
- Workout Indoors: To prevent exposure to cold, shift your workout routines indoors. If the ground where you walk or run everyday has gotten too cold, shift to a gym or find an indoor space to walk every day. If your office has a long gallery, you can use it as a walking space for 30 minutes every day.
- Adopt back strengthening exercises: Lower back muscles are quite vulnerable in winters. It would help if you adopt exercises that strengthen the lower back. Make sure you learn them under expert supervision.