So the clocks are back, its getting dark earlier and it feels like winter is really on its way!

With the cold weather we’ll hear the phrase “I feel it in my bones” or “It’s worse in the cold” or in conversations from patients, their back pain gets a little harder to manage and stiffer in the mornings.

As a judo player I personally know you don’t bounce as well when cold, the body just doesn’t like it, whilst I was treating a fellow Judo player for his niggling back the feedback was similar, his niggle had previously stopped him from training, and prior to seeing me he had had two visits to the GP who gave painkillers/anti-inflammatories, this reduced the symptoms but didn’t resolve his niggles, this prompted another visit where by he was referred to physiotherapy on the NHS as his muscles were very tight.

I don’t want to bash the NHS or physiotherapy, they really are a great resource, however they are under funded, time poor and with limited hands on treatment recommended, exercises alone don’t always give the wanted outcome.

What my friend really needed to know was, what was really creating his pain? and how can it be helped with some good hands on treatment and then managed.

Now I tend to follow the plan of: assess, treat, manage, rehabilitate with a view to improve function and mobility, reduce the pain by working the tissue involved then look to improve strength and flexibility.

What’s the cold got to do with this? Well we all know that when the body is warm it feels better and moves better, we also know that we apply cold to cause the blood vessels to constrict when injured to manage inflammation, apply logic to the conversation and we’ll know cold and damp doesn’t help us move better, but it does make us very aware of our aches and pains…

So if you wonder why your back pain is worse in winter, then you’re not alone. I think we also notice it a bit more as we age.

Even in the cold winter months we need to stay active unfortunately it’s harder to motivate ourselves in the winter, I mean who wants to jump into a swimming pool when its cold outside, if we become less active our aches and pain can become part of the slow decline in health and lifelong back issues, further giving our motivation a good kick. So an inactive winter with cold weather really can influence our back pain.

With this in mind you need to keep active and embrace all weather to stay fit and able.

So here are a few things to remember;

Warm up and be prepared for the exercise at hand.

Train with a friend or work colleague it helps with consistency and motivation, its also good to have support.

Making training fun and social this can keep you connected to people.

If you go outdoors be wrapped up and wear warm clothing, layers are the best way to go.

Bolton and Manchester both have active walking groups to get outdoors, just look up the Ramblers Association.

Outdoor walking and winter walking is a favourite of mine.. I always take a flask (hot vimto) to pep me up, with a well kitted out backpack. Last week I took the family upto Ingleton Falls, what a lovely walk though the 4 ½ miles seems a lot more due to the large amount of steps.

You can make little changes at work to help, such as taking the stairs rather than lift.

Take regular breaks from the desk where possible to relieve the tension, have a little routine to work the shoulders and lower back.

So there you have it don’t let winter bug your back! If you are experiencing any aches or pain drop us a line were here to help with a few useful options.

And on that note keep well and keep moving 🙂

Francis Connor

How many kids can you see?  There should be two..

A walk around Ingleton Falls

Remember: Osteopaths don’t just treat Back Pain

We also treat…. Sports Injuries, Stiff Joints, Shoulder Pain, Leg Pain… and much more

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