Todays Forecast – Aches and Pains
Brrr it’s freezing outside this week. Seems like the best place to be is under the doona. When we do get out and about though all of the aches and pains seem to be a bit worse in this weather.
This morning I was looking out our front window at someone waiting for a bus and thinking “so why does everything feel worse when temperatures dip?” There are a number of possible explanations.
• Cold weather postures
• Arthritis flare-ups
• Cold weather depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Cold weather postures
Think about how you sit and stand when you are feeling cold. Neck bent, shoulders hunched, arms and legs pressed tightly into your body. These postures cause muscle tension and pain. Then at night you curl up in the foetal position to get warm and those over-tightened muscles don’t get any relief. You find yourself waking with a sore neck or back in the morning.
Research has suggested that changes in barometric pressure can cause pain in joints. You probably have a relative who says they can predict the rain by the pain in their knee or other joint. Studies are not conclusive as to why this happens, but it is thought that falling pressure results in expansion of tissues inside joints, resulting in pain.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This condition tends to occur as the weather gets colder and days are shorter. People affected may experience body aches and pains, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, depression and weight gain. It is thought to stem from lack of exposure to bright light and a deficit in vitamin D.
This isn’t a condition, it’s just what I have decided to call the practice of staying at home because it’s too cold to go out. Many people don’t get off their couch very much during the colder months and the less you do, the less you do. Eating a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk in front of a movie does not enhance your fitness or weight goals and results in aching muscles and feeling bad about them.
Well this is all rather miserable, but there are ways of dealing with it.
• Establish and maintain a regular winter exercise regime. This doesn’t have to be the gym. Go to pilates (at Balance Physio ), go walking, use the stairs, try skipping, play sport or run around with your kids.
• Dress warmly for the weather. Protect your head, feet and hands as you lose a lot of heat from these points.
• Try to see some sunlight as often as possible. Whenever the sun shines make a point of getting out in it.
• Watch your weight and try to eat nourishing, hot meals.
• Try doing some stretches at home or at work each day. Stand up and stretch your arms back, stretch your calf leaning towards the wall, bend gently to the side.
If you think you have seasonal affective disorder you should see your GP who can work with you to manage your symptoms. If your pain relates to arthritis or inactivity, or just pain after sleeping, then Physiotherapy may help to relieve your pain. You don’t need a doctor’s referral. So keep warm and smile, because the days are getting longer now.