17 Jun Can the Summer Heat Make My Back Pain Worse?
If you’ve ever felt the discomfort in your spine go from mild to severe on a hot and humid day, it may mean that the summer heat is exacerbating your back pain.
When it comes to back pain, there is a correlation between the weather and the intensity of the aches and pains you may feel. However, there’s no need to live in pain when your local McAllen chiropractors at Hendrick Wellness Center are here to offer you a few ways to make your summer months more bearable.
Changes in Barometric Pressure
The sensory nerves in your joints, known as baroreceptors, can be partly to blame for your summer pain. These special nerves cause tendons, ligaments, and muscles to expand or contract to improve blood flow regulation when the humidity shifts.
If you have spine-related issues, these changes can affect sensitive nerves alongside your back as well.
Humidity & Pain
A change in humidity is also linked to pain, though it is inconclusive whether higher or lower humidity is more likely to induce it. Since the sensation of pain is unique to every individual, certain people might experience more pain on high humidity days, while others may experience more pain on low humidity days.
If you are being affected by humidity, you can ease its impact by:
- Using a dehumidifier to eliminate excess indoor moisture.
- Taking frequent breaks to cool off indoors.
- Wearing lighter, breathable clothes.
- Wearing a hat and sunglasses outside.
- Choosing shade instead of basking in the sun.
Being Active Can Help Your Back Pain
Take advantage of the fresh air and warmer summer temperatures to become more active. Light activities can be a wonderful way to strengthen muscles that support your spine.
Of course, avoid the hottest parts of the day by going for a walk or doing some gardening in the morning when it’s much cooler. Some summer exercises that can be beneficial for your back include:
- Water aerobics – An exercise class in the pool is a great way to achieve the toning and core-muscle strengthening of conventional aerobics without stressing your joints or spine.
- Swimming – You can swim to achieve the aerobic benefits of jogging without risking sore knees, shin splints, or skeletal pain.
- Cycling – Cycling offers less stress than running and a good amount of cardiovascular exercise, but it does come with some risks. Be sure your bike fits your size and skills, be aware of the stresses of seating and leaning on the handlebars, and most importantly, always wear a properly-fitted safety helmet.
Staying Hydrated to Beat the Pain
The intense summer heat can quickly deplete the water in the spongy discs that support your spine. On hot and humid days, drink 1-2 cups of water per hour, and more if you are exercising outdoors.
Back pain aggravated by the heat is usually temporary, and even with adjusting your activities and taking steps to stay cool, there are likely to be days when your back pain is difficult to ignore. For many people, measures such as heat and cold therapy, along with rest, will be sufficient to alleviate discomfort.
However, if your back pain becomes increasingly worse or you experience a different kind of pain, consider seeking chiropractic care from our professionals at Hendrick Wellness Center in McAllen.
While the science supporting a correlation between temperature changes and pain is not resolute, it is still a commonly reported phenomenon throughout medical literature. The biology behind this link is likely complicated and perhaps even unique to every individual.
In the meantime, follow your gut. If the heat worsens your pain, then minimize your exposure as much as you can.
Here at the Hendrick Wellness Center, your safety, along with your physical and mental well-being, is of utmost importance to our McAllen chiropractors. If you have any chiropractic needs or concerns, please feel free to contact us today.