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Posted on 09-08-2011
It's that time of year again. Fall is in the air! Along with the cooler weather, we often see an influx of patient with stiff necks or pain when they turn their heads.
Why would the cooler weather be to blame?
When our bodies are used to the summer heat, the shoulders tend to relax as they are used to hot temperatures outside. Short sleeve shirts or tank tops are required just to be comfortable. When the temperature takes a sudden drop like it has in Kansas City, not everyone adjusts their clothing to protect their neck and shoulders from the cooler temperatures. Their body will tense up more in the neck and shoulders in an attempt to stay warmer, and patients who are sensitive to cool temperatures on their body will find that their back and neck is more stiff.
If the vertebrae (bones) in your neck are already out of place when your muscles start to stiffen, all of a sudden you can have neck or back pain that starts to limit your ability to function.
Patients who have felt good all summer can have a flare up of back or neck pain as the seasons change.
How can a Chiropractor help my stiff neck or back if its partially weather related?
Well, your neck or back is partially being impacted by the cooler weather, and partially because you may have misalignments in your back and neck. A Chiropractor is specially trained to detect and correct these misalignments in your spine and joints, which reduces the stress on your nervous system. Many Chiropractors also coach their patients in the proper use of moist heat, ice, hydration, eating habits, and more. I always give my patients home care instructions whenever it may help them feel better faster. The combination of all of this, as well as starting to wear heavier clothing or protecting your neck when outside, can really make a difference quickly.
How many treatments will it take to fix my back or neck pain?
I am asked this question a lot, and there is not one right answer for everyone. This is why a Chiropractor will take a thorough history of your problems, and examine you before giving their recommendations. It will usually take longer to improve and heal if you have had neck pain or back pain for months vs. if your neck pain started yesterday. This is why it is important to see your Chiropractor at the first sign of neck or back pain and stiffness, so that it can be corrected in a fewer number of visits.
I also recommend that patients who are generally pain-free and stable get an adjustment with each change of seasons. Why? Because if your body is starting to misalign, a drastic change in temperature can suddenly make a little stiffness become a lot of pain!
If you have any questions, please call me!
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Dr. Kristine Baker
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