How to avoid and treat neck pain and shoulder stuffiness due to cold weather

 When cold weather is around us, it is very common for you to feel muscle aches and neck pain often and stronger. You feel like tensing your body to try to keep warm. Many people move less in cold weather also because they feel stiffness with general movement. Neck and shoulder pain can become more difficult to handle when temperature drops. In this blog, you will find tips to avoid neck pain and shoulder stuffiness. Let´s have a look and try them! 

 Why do we suffer neck pain and shoulder stiffness when temperature drops?  

Cold air can have an impact on the neck and shoulder tissue, if you understand how cold affects the tissue you could minimise neck and shoulder pain and stiffness in cold weather.  

  •  When temperatures drop your muscles tighten up to constrict blood vessels in the upper body in order to decrease heat loss from arms, neck, shoulders etc., to maintain body core temperature to vital organs. In other words, the body needs to save temperature for your main organs.
  •  If muscles are held in a tight state for a long period, this can increase neck pain, due to muscle tightness.
  •  Anxiety and stress can get worse in cold weather as people are less sociable, which can increase negative nervous system responses
  •  Poor posture can increase discomfort, tightness and neck pain as you hunch often-lift and hold your shoulders tightly.  Round your mid-back by slouching. Poke your chin forward. This change in posture can cause neck pain.
  •   Lack of movement in cold weather causes joint stiffness and decrease in muscle flexibility.  Therefore, you suffer from neck pain often.

 Tips to prevent having a “pain in the neck”

  •   Stretch your neck and shoulders regularly.  One of the best ways to manage neck pain during the cold weather is to stretch the neck muscles daily.  Neck stretches are simple, and many can even be done while sitting. They will help to release the tension or pain of your shoulders.
  • Ensure your workstation is set up correctly, we spend more than 50% of our time staring at devices such as: laptop, smart phone, work computer. These can have an impact on your neck and potentially lead to pain.
  • Avoid sitting for too long, change positions regularly. Make sure to sit up straight and take a break every half hour to help reduce the strain on your neck.
  • Make sure your pillow gives you the right support for your neck.
  • Keep hydrated, it is easy to forget to drink water when the weather is cold.
  • Have regular maintenance massage, prevention is better than cure. Maintenance massage can be done every 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Avoid the winter blues. During winter many people may feel depressed. This seasonal depression can lead to an increase in neck pain from stress and anxiety. Staying active is an important way to keep your mind occupied, while also keeping your body moving. Regular exercise is a crucial part of preventing any kind of chronic pain.

What can I do to relieve my stiffness, shoulder/ neck pain?

  •   Keep a good posture, avoid curled up, hunched over or sloppy posture.   
  •   Avoid cold damp places with drafts.
  •   Keep warm, wear warmer clothes all the time. With London’s weather it’s always best to be prepared with a jumper, jacket, or scarf.   
  •   Use heat packs on your neck and shoulders or where you need it. Check manufacturing instructions before         applying on your skin.
  •   Tuck your chin in gently with your eyes straight ahead, feeling your neck getting longer.
  •    Relax your shoulders and keep them down, do shoulder circles forward and back with small movements.
  •   Gentle stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.
  •   Had a sauna, or hot bath.
  •   Exercise regularly, make sure you wear warm clothes.  
  •   Apply deep heat if you aren’t allergic to it.
  •   If pain persists, visit the specialist who treat you better!

 When do I seek a professional to treat neck or shoulder pain?

 If you are experiencing persistent tightness, discomfort, loss of movement for more than 24 to 48 hours and you had tried everything at home and the problem is still there, don’t let it become chronic, it is time to book and appointment with our team of osteopaths, physiotherapists, Sports therapist, Massage therapists or acupuncturists. All of them are professionals with experiences on treating neck pain and shoulder stuffiness.

What to expect in your appointment

Your therapist will:

  •  Take your medical history.
  •  Assess your neck and shoulder to find the cause of the problem.
  • Discuss the findings and best treatment plan with you, in order to decrease your pain, release muscle spasms, mobilise joints and restore functional movement.
  •  Prescribe exercises and postural advice. Also, he/ she will advise you on home, work and gym activities that could make your neck and shoulder pain worse.   

Just remember the longer neck pain and shoulder stiffness are untreated in the hope that it will get better on its own, usually means the muscle and joint issues require more treatment sessions to restore healthy movement and reduce neck pain.  

 We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!


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