Weather and back pain: Link or myth?

There are local legends about people who can supposedly detect changing weather from the pain in their joints. Believe it or not, there's actually a bit of truth to this, according to Weather.com. That source spoke to The Mount Sinai Hospital's Dr. James Gladstone, who argued that there is, in fact, a connection between arthritis and the weather patterns happening around us.

Gladstone said that a drop in temperature leads to stiffness, which can affect anyone, not just those with existing pain. In these conditions, keeping the body warm is crucial. Most people will probably be bundling up in the winter months, of course, but will they be warming those muscles with sensitive nerve endings?

"Anything cold causes muscles, ligaments and tendons to sort of tighten up, and that makes them stiffer," the doctor said. "So if you're going to be doing stuff in cold weather, you want to make sure you warm up well first, and as importantly, have protective clothing on, so you don't get too cold."

Despite Gladstone's assertions, though, there's debate over how valid this theory is, and no explicit scientific link. Without this conclusive research, then, you may be better off using the cold to assess possible pain and take greater steps than usual to reduce it.

Even without being a direct cause of back pain, it's clear cold weather can trigger other potentially harmful effects. As Gladstone says, the stiffness in the body is a known side effect of cold, and could make current pain less bearable. What's more, the cold could discourage you from stretching or getting exercise, which is vital for health all year round!

No matter what time of year it is, checking in with a chiropractor can be a good plan for addressing back pain before it gets worse.