Cold Weather Tips from a Physical Therapist

Written By Anthony Chiropractic and Massage on February 5, 2018

Physical Therapist in TempleThe colder months of the year, especially the winter months of December, January and February, can force us to change our lifestyles and our routines to maintain optimal health. If you have been working with a physical therapist either independently or in conjunction with chiropractic care, you’ll want to make sure you don’t undo all the conditioning you have achieved, especially as the winter months can impact us in some not so obvious ways.

Rethink Bulky Coats and Scarves

Yes, you want to stay warm and look stylish. If you have neck problems, you may want to reconsider wearing a bulky scarf. Heavy material – and lots of it – can force you to hold your head at an unnatural angle, causing stress and strain on the muscles and tendons in the neck. Rather than covering up with a bulky scarf, consider a lighter fabric or synthetic material neck gaiter that will be just as warm and not thrown your cervical spin out of alignment.

The same thing goes for heavy coats. Yes, they can be warm, but the added weight of a heavy coat can put pressure on the sensitive muscles in your trapezius, weighing you down by requiring your body to carry extra weight. If you have chronically sore shoulders and upper back muscles, look for lightweight coats in a synthetic material to keep away the chill this season.

Warm Up and Cool Down When Exercising Outdoors

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you probably already have a warm up routine. But remember that your body needs more time to get acclimated when the mercury drops, so make sure to spend a little extra time getting ready to exercise in the cold. Add a few stretches to your regular routine, and spend extra time working out any areas of tightness before heading outside.

The same principles hold true for your post workout plan. Longer stretches and a lengthy cool down can help keep your body healthy when cold weather is part of the plan.  Even it means a shorter period of exercise, taking the time to properly warm up and cool down can help prevent injuries that can sideline you during the spring.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Hot Bath

While there are no definitive reports that say cold weather impacts our joints, you feel it some days, and just know it’s the weather. If you suffer from arthritis, a relaxing soak in a hot tub can ease pain and help restore you mentally and physically.


Posted In: Physical Therapy