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How to deal with cold weather back pain??? HELP!!

hope4leohhope4leo Posts: 199
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
This is my first season of cold weather accompanied with with a fusion. How do you deal with the cold weather back pain???? I can't get warm! Sometimes the pain is so bad for the cold weather, I can hardly stand it. I can't walk, stand, lay down to get comfortable. The other night I was in bed by 6:30P in tears until finally I feel asleep. Pain meds dont even help me. Is there anything I can do to just help ease it. I don't want to ice my back as I am already freezing- My NS don't want me using heat on it either.

What is your experience?



  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,518
    An extra or warmer sweater, a blanket, turning the heat up, etc
    The Cold Weather impacts almost everyone with spinal problems, especially those who have had surgery.
    Try warm baths or at least use warm moist heat on your back (do not sleep on it) Is there any reason why your Neurosurgeon doesnt want you to use heat? There must be a valid reason, so please dont go the warm bath or warm moist heat route unless you get their approval.
    Sometimes IF you have a nerve related problem, it can show up more in colder weather. Has your doctor ever talked to you about any nerve damage?
  • I'll be watching this!

    Last year I think I still hurt just enough to not notice if it was the cold or the surgery recovery.

    This year I'm feeling it - and it doesn't just stay in my lower back. As I type my ache goes all the way up between my shoulder blades and it's intensely uncomfortable.

    Doesn't help that between work and home we are all trying to conserve energy (economy issues ya know) and everywhere I go is under-heated. Including my car - although I think that is because it's not able to cope with this cold of weather.
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  • Today where I live, the wind chill is -14 degrees. I've been layering my clothes, laying under an extra warm blanket and sitting near the fireplace. That's really all you can do.. along with a heating pad if you have one. Maybe sipping on some hot liquids would help. Warm water, hot chocolate, etc. I would avoid coffee.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,082
    Those self-heating stick on heating pads are a life saver. I live in Arizona but when we go up north here in the Winter (where it snows) they have been a wonderful addition. I don't travel without them as they are great for plane trips and car trips as well.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I am not sure how long ago you had your surgery, but this surgery tends to have a lot of blood loss and some times you can be a bit anemic, which has one horrible side effect: you are cold all the time!!!. I went through this and it was only after taking iron pills for three months and getting my blood count back to normal did I stop being so cold all the time. Just a thought.
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  • S~ (hope4leo) we are now walking (or limping) barometers. I can predict better than the Weather Channel any barometric changes, any cold or storm fromts, any drop in air pressure, ANYTHING now. These last few days (we live in Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan) have had me @ wit's end as well, so yes, I can say I certainly feel your pain.
    Sugery sometimes either causes arthritis or makes exisitng arthritis worse, & that will respond to any major weather changes now, plus if you you have hardware, that will react differently than "normal" tissue, etc. My hardware just pounds when the weather is bad & as Salz says, it doesn't just stay in the fusion area,but works its way up (and down) my whole spine & everything aches deeply and almost nauseating-ly.
    Surprisingly, I get much better relief from ice or sold packs. Heat makes things worse for me. Ice, even tho right now it's 8 degrees here w/ a minus 25 windchill, helps most. In fact, yesterday I made my favorite "home-made" ice packs: zip-lock baggies filled with fresh snow~! Mmmmmm! They melt quickly, but even the melt-water stays really cold.
    But I agree: having to go out in cold weather, or stand outside (like when I have recess duty) is baaaad. And you're correct: pain meds don't help much. And yes, if you have nerve problems, it will be worse. So as I NS said "Move to Arizona"....
    But for those of us who can't, winter is just another miserable adjunct to this whole post-fusion miserable "new" life..
    I hope you find your "recipe"---whatever combo of meds/ice or heat etc that can make winter more bearable for you. And yes, sometimes going to bed early & just having a good cry is perfectly OK too!

    Hope you feel better tonight! We're all in this together, aren't we?

    ~Lakeside (& wish I wasn't!)
  • I've spent my life being cold. I feel as if I have bad circulation and the back surgery (well, numb foot) makes it worse. I do get achy up the back when the weather switches.

    It's funny but now I know I cannot afford to 'shiver'.

    1 - Extra Layers
    2 - double socks
    3 - we have a wood burning stove so while I can, I stay on the lower level to stay extra warm.
    4 - Shower but can't take too many b/c of dried out skin.

    I wish I could offer more advice. My plan if the above doesn't work, move to Florida.
  • Last night was another horrible night- my goodness- it feels as if my back is going to litterly snap in two. I am heading out today to get a heating pad and if not for my lumbar area- I will place it higher up to see if I get some relief. I was anemic but I had a blood transfusion 2 days after surgery and then started with iron transfusions a month after surgery. I wear layers, heavy socks- its like every part of me is freezing- I live in Oklahoma and so THANKFUL I don't live in Alaska- LOL!

    Thanks to of you spineys out there that keep me going when the days are so rough- no one understands like ya'll!
  • Oh that cold weather/possible arthritis was BAD last night! I was thinking of you while I was massaging my back (trying to avoid those dang screws that I can feel through my skin)trying to enjoy a family night out to dinner and just about ready to cry it was hurting so bad - I feel it, oh I do.

    I wonder if it's arthritis setting in for me, just because it was so bad last night but the weather had actually warmed up about 10 degrees yesterday, then BAM - a boatload of snow this morning - human barometers for sure!

    Before this morning's snow I had wondered if the constant shivering was making my back hurt so much more, or the tightness of the muscles as they fight off the cold.

    Oh - the ONLY place I'm warm - in a bed PILED high with down comforters and all snuggled in. I have to admit I use DH's super heat producing body to warm it all up before I fall asleep.

    p.s. One bad thing about losing all the weight - I'm so much colder than when I had an extra 40lbs on me.
  • I love those self-heating Thermacare wraps - they make one that goes around your whole body with the heating pads in the back. I have to admit that I buy toe warmers for my shoes that are made of the same stuff. I'm always cold. We've had lots of days in the single digits here lately (a rarity for where I live) and I can actually feel those rods in my back. It's been awful.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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