Most people will experience a form of back pain at some point in their lives.
While it may be short-lived for some, for others back pain can be chronic and have a debilitating effect on quality of life.
During the winter, back pain can seem worse as the body is exposed to colder weather and it’s harder to muster up the motivation to exercise.
“In cold weather you may stay in more and be less active, which reduces circulation and can make joints and muscles feel stiffer,” said LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Anshu Bhimbat.
Keeping active is therefore essential in order to improve a painful back. Bhimbat provides four tips on how to stay mobile and combat back pain in winter.
Start gentle with yoga
Yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing and has been found to be particularly effective in alleviating back pain, explains Bhimbat.
Exercises such as the bridge and downward dog are great for stretching out the spine and improving flexibility.
A simple walk a day will help keep muscles mobile. It can be useful to set targets and gradually increase the amount you walk every day.
Try low-impact exercise
Low impact exercises can help ease pain and keep the body mobile, while not causing too much strain on the joints – avoiding sprains and strains.
These exercises can be especially beneficial for those experiencing lower back pain caused by poor posture.
Enlist some support
“If you don’t know where to start when it comes to managing your pain and staying moving, you should enlists some support,” said Bhimbat.
You could try a personal trainer who specialises in supporting those with pain, or pop into your local pharmacy.
Exercise in any form can also support mood and wellbeing, and a positive mood can also help alleviate pain, according to Bhimbat.
“The nervous system interprets moods, emotions and how we experience pain, meaning that there can be a strong relationship between sensations of pain and mood.”
“Experiencing pain can negatively affect your mood. However, it is important for patients to understand that on the other hand mood can impact your interpretation of pain.”
“Staying active when experiencing pain can involve anything from walking to the shops rather than taking the car, gentle yoga to help build strength and flexibility or a low impact endurance exercise such as swimming,” said Bhimbat.