Stuck inside with back pain? Eight tips for rainy or snowy days
Depending on where you live, certain times of year mean more rain and snow and less time outdoors. Being stuck inside for long periods of time is bad enough — but if you’re suffering from neck or back pain, it can potentially worsen your symptoms.
There are many reasons for this, including reduced activity and less exposure to sunlight. Additionally, some studies suggest a link between the weather and painful episodes, including ones involving neck and back pain.
Whether you’re dealing with a sudden downpour that ruins your day at the beach or you’re snowed in for days at a time, you can make the most of your time indoors. These following tips can help you stay focused on your spine health until you’re back out in the sun again.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for neck or back pain. It gets your blood pumping, loosens up joints and releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers. In the long term, regular exercise also helps to build core strength and manage weight, two things that are critical for a healthy spine. While it may be tempting to call it a rest day when there’s bad weather, there are plenty of ways to get a spine-friendly indoor workout. As always, consult with your doctor to make sure you are physically cleared to perform any physical activity. Here are some great tips for staying active if you’re stuck inside:
- Stretch. Taking a few minutes to perform basic stretches is very important for neck or back pain sufferers. Whether as a warm-up for other activities or as a break for prolonged periods of sitting, try to get at least one stretching session in a day. Do stretches for the whole body, while focusing on gentle stretches for painful areas such as the neck, lower back or hamstrings.
- Go for a walk around the house. Don’t let the rain or snow stop you from getting in those all-important steps. Depending on the size of your space, you can try walking up and down the hall, dusting off your unused treadmill or even walking in place.
- Work on your core. Even if the weather is too rough to get to the gym, there are plenty of core-strengthening exercises you can do at home that require little or no equipment. Planks, wall-sits and a short Pilates routine can all contribute to stronger supporting muscles that help reduce pressure on the spine.
Make a comforting, but healthy, meal or drink
Most of us love the idea of cozying up with a warm drink or a bowl of soup on a rainy or snowy day, and this is doubly true if you are experiencing a flare-up of pain. Unfortunately, some of our first choices can contain ingredients that are inflammatory and may be contributing to your painful symptoms. Here are some ways to make comfort food part of a healthier diet:
- Put healthy ingredients in your soups and stews. Making a few tweaks to your favorite recipe can turn it into an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. For example, adding pumpkin to chili or a natural anti-inflammatory herb like turmeric to chicken soup can make for comfort food that is still part of your nutrition plan.
- Make a cup of tea. Hot beverages such as hot chocolate or caffé lattes can be loaded with sugar and dairy, two ingredients associated with pain and inflammation. Instead, brew a cup of green tea. Tea is packed with antioxidants and compounds that help with concentration and relaxation. Try to develop a taste for plain tea, but if you do need a sweetener, try honey as a more natural substitute.
Do something that brings you joy
While it may be tempting to pass the time indoors binge-watching a new show or browsing social media, there are many other options. Devoting time to family or a favorite hobby can potentially improve your mental well-being, which is an often-overlooked part of the pain management process. If the weather is getting you down, the following ideas may pick you up:
- Spend time with loved ones. Turn off the screen and catch up with your family or friends. Whether face-to-face or over the phone, strengthening your relationships can be fulfilling and help you feel less alone if you are in pain.
- Enjoy your favorite hobby — on an exercise ball. Whether you’re into crafts, painting or piano, sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair can help improve posture. This can help relieve pressure on the spine while your brain is stimulated and rewarded with a fulfilling activity.
- Read a book about wellness. Curling up on the sofa with a mystery novel would top many people’s list of rainy-day activities, but you can also try something a little less tense. Books on meditation, natural herbal remedies or nutrition can help you stay committed to a treatment plan.
Rain or shine, Laser Spine Institute is here to help
Our caring team is here to help you learn about your neck or back pain and the treatments available to help you find relief. Contact us today for more information.
We’re always happy to provide a free review of your MRI* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.