SPINE MAINTENANCE DURING WINTER
Updated: Feb 13, 2018
There are many cases where patients that visit the clinic are those with low back pain in winter when the temperature drops, or those whose pain relapsed even with frequent exercise for maintenance. Close attention is needed for patient treatment and care during cold weathers.
“Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine” lists ten reasons behind low back pain, and among those, the most commonly seen in winter for lumbago is “Han” (cold) energy; thus let us learn about Cold Back Pain.
Prolonged exposure to cold energy causes constriction of lumbar muscles and surround tissues, thus causing poor blood circulation, and achy and heavy pain as if the back has been submerged in icy cold water. Korean Medicine uses acupuncture treatment and chiropractic treatment simultaneously to effectively relieve tension of lumbar muscles and surrounding tissues, and to restore blood circulation by adjusting spinal arrangement. Chuna herbal medicine regenerates lumbar muscle and cartilage, and nervous tissues.
Workouts to strengthen ligaments and muscles around the spine need to be followed after alleviating pain; but it is easy to become lazy because of cold weather. Therefore, the following are simple workouts you can do at home:
Walking-in-place exercise is recommended, where you lift your knee higher than usually when walking by forming ninety-degree angle while moving the arms front and back actively. Once adjusted, increase the speed of walking. Speed up for one minute, then slow down for another minute, and increase the intervals to five minutes of walking fast and slow. If you maintain this for twenty to thirty minutes, you will start sweating and breathing fast, which help in muscle strengthening.
Metabolism slows down while sleeping, and the body stiffens up during low temperatures at night. Light stretching and repetitive up and down movement of the ankles in the morning can not only decrease pain but can also loosen movement.
Taking a bath before sleeping is also a great therapy: fill the water up to the bellybutton, pour 1/3 bottle of rice wine, which help increase body temperature to help blood circulation. This is effective in relieving any stiffness. Pain worsens during wintertime because the body temperatures decreases, thus slowing down metabolism. Frequent exercise and proper lifestyle habits are important for spinal and joint disorder prevention and for maintenance of health.
Many patients that visit the clinic state there is ‘sudden’ pain even without any excessive workout or labor. But it is my opinion that this pain is not a sudden pain caused by the spine, but rather a case where specific region has been under constant stress and exhaustion, and it has exceeded its capacity. Therefore, it is not an overstatement to say spinal health is swayed by proper lifestyle habits.
Even if patients have received suggestion for surgery, if they receive regular treatment and practice conservative treatment with patience by changing unhealthy habits with effort and kinesitherapy, then they can achieve enough high quality lifestyle.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on January 21st, 2014.