Dr. Jeff joins Melissa Forman on WCIU’s You & Me This Morning to discuss how the Chicago weather can be affecting your back pain and what you can do about it. Chicago’s weather is constantly changing and this can cause back pain to increase. Most people complain that their pain increases due to the cold, rainy, damp weather but research has shown it’s not that. Scientist have not come to a full agreement that weather causes pain but there are some theories. One of the main theories scientists have is the change in air pressure. What is affecting most of the people is the barometric pressure, which is weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us. The barometric pressure often drops before the bad weather even occurs. The lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand -- and those expanded tissues can put stress on the joint. The best way to explain it is the body can either expand or contract based on outside pressure changes. Those changes are going to affect how pain is signaled in your body.
Although these are just theories for why pain increases during bad weather there are some precautions that you can take.
- Don’t sit around keep moving. Try exercising and stretching before going outside in the bad weather. This will loosen up the stiffness in your joints.
- Try your best to stay warm. Keep your house warm, wear warm clothing, make sure your car is heated before getting in, etc. You can also use a heating pad on your painful joints so that the muscles relax and help with your pain.
- Don’t let the bad weather affect your mood. Your mood can make your pain more intense.
- Prevent swelling before it starts with warmth.
- The pain is temporary! The weather won’t always be bad so make sure to realize that.
- Knowledge is everything. Know your body and how it is going to react in certain weather changes.