Lately in clinic we have seen an increase in muscular and joint problems. At this time of year we see an increase in joint problems due to the damp and cold weather. Over time we have found that arthritis patients can even tell you when it's going to rain, as they can feel it in their joints.
We also find that the neck, shoulders and jaw muscles become tight and painful. When we are cold we have the tendency to lift our shoulders towards our ears to try and keep ourselves warm. This can then over-activate the muscles in the neck, shoulders & back.
Ensure that you wear warm clothing. I know that this is difficult at this time of year with the dilemma of not knowing what to wear as the weather is quite autumnally interchangeable. The key to autumnal fashion is layers, then you can take off a layer if you are too hot, and add extra layers if you aren’t warm enough. Base layers are great if you are working outdoors.
Try and focus on keeping a good posture by holding your shoulders in a relaxed position rather than a tense one. A good way to do this is rolling the shoulders down to reset the position of your neck and shoulders.
Regular stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day.
Keep the jaw muscles warm, especially when it is windy. A scarf or snood is great for this.
Warm your muscles to keep them supple. Use a heat pad, a wheat bag or a hot water bottle on your upper back/lower neck for 20 minutes at least once a day in the evening. I can highly recommend investing in something like the image below. I typed heated neck warmer for pain in amazon. .
As a manual therapist it is difficult to give the prescription of icing at this time of year, as we want to warm ourselves in autumn and winter, not make ourselves colder. However, if you have a complaint that is inflammatory in nature, ice is the better option. If you are unsure if you should use ice or heat then contact us for advice. The general rule is heat for muscles and ice for joint problems and inflammation.