Why do we seem to ache more in the winter? Edinburgh seems to be full of back pains, shoulder aches, neck pain, more headaches and other maladies over the winter time. Why? I offer some possibilities below…
Lack of Vitamin D
It’s been suggested that due to there being less sunlight in the winter Vitamin D levels decline leading to hormonal imbalances and more pain. Oily fish are a good source of Vitamin D, but apart from mushrooms it’s rare to find Vitamin D in vegetables and there’s none in fruits, so vegetarians may need to consider supplementation.
In the cold blood is diverted away from muscles to keep your core body temperature up. As the muscles cool they may tense and shorten, leading to stiffness and an increased risk of aching.
Lack of Movement
Most people are less active in the winter, leading to lack of blood flow, which in turn causes muscles to tighten and joints to stiffen and more pain. So get up and move! Even if it’s just some light exercising indoors.
Many people are conscious of drinking plenty in the warmer summer months – maybe this applies less in Edinburgh. :-) But they drink less in the winter, potentially leading to relative dehydration, which in turn can lead to your body not processing and eliminating toxins as easily. This build up makes you more likely to ache. So… drink more water!
Coughs and Colds
There are more viruses around in the winter leading to coughs and colds. A viral infection in itself tends to lead to aches and pain, never mind the strain of a racking cough.
Walking in Icy Conditions
Most people tense up walking on ice and snow. This leads to more muscle tension and aches and pain. So, when you come in from the cold, get warm, lie down and do some stretching to return those muscles to their normal healthy length. And of course, wear shoes with decent grips – possibly even invest in a pair of ice grippers to go over your shoes.
If you can think of any other causes of aches and pains in the winter, please share them!