As we finally approach the end of winter the pain has probably began to increase in regards to spondylolisthesis, or any other bone or joint problem.
I have been blessed to have several bone issues.
Bone pain is always worse in winter and long rainy cool spells.
This may just be some odd coincidence, but I believe there are a few possible factors for this increase in the cold months.
Pay attention to the following reasons and see if you also have experienced any of them.
If you have or if you do feel an increase of pain with the cold weather, try to make a few adjustments to combat the following possibilites.
1. Cold weather leads to lazziness.
For me personally, when I sit around more often than not I get extremely tight in the hips and low back area. I lose stability and strength in areas that are crucial for maintaining good health and providing relief for my low back.
I don’t always want to be active because besides having spondylolisthesis, which alone is so painful I have osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis.
I guess it’s the universes way of saying hey Deb your bones are jacked!
When the temperature drops, those outdoor activities disappear and unfortunately they are replaced by lots more sitting. Sitting is not good. Our bodies were not meant to sit. Especially if it’s hours at a time.
Daily walks long or short are replaced by computer activities.
Many other outdoor activities are replaced by sitting and watching them on TV.
I try to stay active as much as possible considering I have several bone issue challenges
Trips to indoor malls , the library, or bookstore , museum Instead of sitting is best.
I haven’t been able to do my favorite outdoor activity hiking since I was diagnosed with osteonecrosis in my knee 4 years ago and I miss it terribly. I hope someday I can get back to it. I have faith.
One of the main things I do is to stay disciplined with my daily workouts well I call them workouts.
I stay as conscientious as I can of how much I sit and try hard to not sit for long periods of time.
Yes there’s days I do but mostly I don’t.
When I work on the computer, I try to get up every 15 minutes or so even if it only involves a quick hip stretch or movement.
No matter how cold it gets outside, I try to stay as active as I can by replacing old outdoor activities with new indoor activities that involve movement.
This has really helped me to avoid cold weather setbacks with my back and often my knee. But don’t get me wrong I still will get some bad days it’s just not everyday or all day.
The worst is when we have long days of extreme cold or that dreaded all day rain that chills you, the back hurts the knee hurts and the entire body hurts .
Sometimes it’s exhausting.
But I try to keep somewhat busy.
Thank goodness for my recumbent bike.
Some days I just do a mile 1-2x a day and that’s ok. Other days I do 3 miles 1-2 x a day.
2. Cold weather can lead to poor eating habits.
Just like in the first example, when you sit around more and become lazy you usually begin to eat poorly.
Often times shear boredom leads to bad eating habits. That bag of chips or chocolate cake that you usually would ignore in the summer begins to work its way back into your diet.
The cold weather months typically cause people to put on a few more pounds.
I haven’t put on weight but I can never seem to lose it no matter what I do……thanks hypothyroidism
For many holidays do not help either. Large amounts of sitting around and eating during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are often to blame for excess pounds.
This leads to a snowball effect of being lazy. You sit around more which creates the sense of boredom.
Many people replace being bored with the feeling of hunger , I used to do that.
You then overeat causing the body to feel lethargic and lazy and the cycle continues.
Before you know it you plow through a box of cookies and a bowl of ice cream while you sit and watch six hours of re-runs of your favorite TV show.
Talk about creating a perfect storm!
The entire body then becomes inflamed at least for me it did.
So I changed
I stopped most not all of the processed snacks.
I started eating more plant based but I am not a vegan as I do have fish or chicken 1x a week and eggs a couple times a week.
My pain level dropped a lot but I feel healthier still waiting for the weight to fall off.
The sitting and excess weight reduces the ability to move properly which could create instability, weakness and eventually painful spondylolisthesis episodes.
These habits take the place of the activities you are used to in the warmer months wher you spend more time being active and not thinking about food.
I tend to fight this cycle by paying close attention to what I eat and I’m learning to drink-extra water. I find that providing my body with plenty of water helps to fight those boring food craves.
This in combination with staying active helps to keep away the extra cold weather added pounds but more important the inflammation that throws pain scale off the chart.
3.Cold weather makes working out and exercising much harder.
I find that when the weather drops workouts tend to become much harder.
Those quick trips to the park or walk in the plaza get harder when you have to scrape ice off of your car for fifteen minutes. It’s a pain to put on 2 layers of clothing just to stay warm on your way to the store really sucks.
My daily workouts are crucial to staying pain free. Without them my body gets weak, tight and doesn’t move the way it should. IPain is quick to follow.
Mentally I do not let myself get down or lazy. If the temperature is freezing outside I stay in and ride the bike more do gentle stretches.
More often than not if I feel like skipping a workout and I just tell myself to replace the workout with a good warm-up and stretch, I get through the stretch and I am suddenly motivated to workout. That workout that I wanted to skip then turns into a great stretch and workout.
I just know when I have pain or have no pain I feel better when I am moving . I can’t do many things I used to but I can learn new ways.
I have noticed that when we stay mindful and not become stagnant in my life i feel better.
And for that
I am grateful
Here’s some stretches I do to help my spondylolisthesis
How I get the kinks out
Shoulders and Back
Hmmm love these guys.
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