Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2008 Dreamer, Community Member, asks

Q: I have disc and nerve damag in my neck and shoulder, Can the cold weather make my pain worse?

I have disc and nerve damage in my neck and shoulder, Can the cold weather make my pain worse? It seems as though when I am near to a fan or outside in the cold, My pain increases dramaticly and begins to throb and hurt so bad... Can the cold really be causing this?

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Answers (43)
Cort, Health Guide
10/ 5/08 8:15pm

The science on this is mixed. Some studies have found increased pain in people exposed to cold conditions and others have not. People use both cold and heat to reduce pain - ironically enough. Cold does stiffen up the muscles, though, perhaps impeding blood flows to the injured area. This idea is buttressed by the fact that migraines, which are believed to be caused by blood flow problems, are more common when its cold. This suggests that if you have a problem with blood flows in an area the very slight effect of weather on blood flow could exacerbate it. 


So it's possible that you, unfortunately, are very susceptible to cold induced pain. Its also possible that you did something else to aggravate the area during times when you're exposed to cold. You might check to see if there are some times when you're out in the cold and do not feel increased pain. 


Check out the url below for the effects of cold on pain and other problems.

demo, Community Member
4/27/10 1:55pm

I've heard it's not really the cold, but impending rain which has to do with pressure changes.

carolinajewel03, Community Member
10/ 5/08 6:13pm

I do the same way...But I think it is due to stiffening to the cold, and shivers...Anyway thats what happens to me.

Scooter, Community Member
10/ 6/08 4:56pm

I have chronic pain and nerve damage myself. I don't know about the scientific part of it, but I do know that the cold weather always makes it worse. It's really windy where I live and as soon as the wind hits my left leg the pain encreases.

Frankie in NJ, Community Member
10/ 9/08 4:59am

I also have nerve damage in the neck and shoulders post to surgery at C5-6 and am also post surgical (2X) at L4-5, with degenerative disc disease.  Since my injuries and subsequent surgical attempts to remedy them cold weather has had a tremendous effect on my pain levels.  I especially need to keep my neck covered from drafts to minimize the increased pain and rigidity that comes with it.  I've grown accustomed to turtlenecks, **hooded sweatshirts that bunch thickly behind the neck with the hood down help alot**, and scarves or turning up my collars when out.

Gatlins, Community Member
10/ 9/08 5:30am

Yes Pain does increase depending on the weather. My kids are true believers now. I can tell them to the day when its going to rain. When my right (artificial ) kenee starts hurting it will rain within 24 hours. And then when my back kicks in , It's going to rain in about 12 hours.

GRACE, Community Member
10/ 9/08 5:57am


sudsblueii, Community Member
10/ 9/08 6:06am

i have chronic nerve pain and loss of sensation in my left leg and foot, the nerves were damged after a disc broke and cut into the nerves. i find that any change of weather can bring on a spasm of pain. not just the cold. but on cold , damp, rainy days it seems much worse

sablelulu, Community Member
10/ 9/08 6:20am

Yes it really bothers me.I would reallylike to know if you are on lyrica fo the nerve damage

better than any med  i ever tried . Just finished chemo and during the MRI on

back they noticed arthitis so that has alot to do wth the weather. I also found a rub lotion name Bio-freeze(Amazon good price) this works great for the stiffness on neck and shoulder -you may want to try .And i found to list all meds,compare what other think about them and receive alert on interactions -This place has been a miracle for me. I would be foolish to thnk ,parmacy,doc are going to keep up with all my meds Tongue out So these folks take up where they left off . Unbeliveable info on what the drug is ,how it workd what folks think,side effects they have -another good place for your question -I hope i haven't rambled and if you need anyone to talk to

write me -  have a great and Blessed day  sablelulu

Leslie, Community Member
2/17/10 12:57pm

Lyrica does help with the nerve pain. I've got bone spurs from disc demage in L-5,S-1 and the pain from this can be severe I've foud that Lyrica helps sometimes better than actual pain medication.

pstorm1953, Community Member
10/ 9/08 7:11am

CryI say Yes!  The cold seems to settle in your joint and make them ache like mad. I have found that if I put on a little more covering to protect them it's not as bad.  You may laugh, but remember women wore shawls? If you are wearing longer skirts or even pants think tights or knee socks under them instead of lighter stockings.  A shawl will work at home, but to be more fashionable you can wear one of those nice larger scarves.  I'm talking from a woman's point of view.  A man can wear sweathers over his shirts or a sweather vest while out. They also make long underwear for both men and women too.  I know it doesn't sound sexy, but you have to choose which is moreimportant to you, sexy or something to help protect your joints from the cold?Wink


Ms. P

dru, Community Member
10/ 9/08 7:32am

for me yes the cold winters of the east coast can be rough for me and my pain

jeffnc_rsd, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:08am

You bet your life it can for sure. I live with a chronic pain condition known as RSD/CRPS as well as several back issues and the cold also increases my pain as well. It isn't uncommon actually for colder temps and damp weather to increase pain as barometric pressure is usually lower in colder air and during rainy periods so actually it is probably more the change in barometric pressure causing pain increase more than the temperature itself but they go hand in hand anyway. Also the cold stimulates the nerves impulses in the skin as well which can also lead to more pain as well. Sounds like as well if just being in front of sir condition can increase your pain there may be some sympathetic nerve pain involvement with your overall pain issues which can make the pain far harder control as well. I hope this info may help and allows you to understand more as to why you hurt worse due to the cold weather etc..

Sincerely, Jeff

Irishred, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:20am


   In my opinion the answer is a big YES. I have degenerative disc disease. I have had 2 spinal fusions in my neck. Ii has also affected my lumbar spine. Allbut one of the vertebrae there are bulging, decopensating or rutured. I do not want any more surgery so I lve with the pain and take Suboxone. I also have Fibromyalgia and take Lyrica for that. I find cold and damp affect me alot. I get very stiff and I hurt all over. I cannot however afford to move to a warmer climate. I have also found a fan blowing on my back makes it very very difficult to move esp if it was blowing on me during the nght. Take Care of Yourself


gfay, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:36am

I believe it does because I suffer from the same problems. In addition, I feel any change in the weather makes my whole body hurt.  I think what happens in my case I find when I react to weather condition, like being cold my muscles tighten which causes pressure on the nerves in my neck and shoulder.

dorothy, Community Member
10/ 9/08 9:07am

I  have found that any sway in the weather can make my pain worse. 

tammycodarin, Community Member
8/15/14 5:38pm

I have Cauda Equine Syndrome / Arachnoiditis due to a burst fracture spinal injury -caused by a vehicle wreck. Nerve damage galore. pain that radiates down both legs into my feet, and when it is really bad weather my whole body aches. From L1 down there is fairly severe damage, a miracle that i can even walk, however, Thank THE LORD i can. any change in the weather and to the bed i have had to go, a lot of the time. i have studied and studied the weather patterns where ever iam at the time. i have found most of the time iit is the barometric lows that are the cause. However, i am finding that is not alwasy the cold that causes the pain increase, but the wind whaatever drives it is affecting the pain too. i havent figured tthat one out yet. i was living in Colorado when i started putting 2 and 2 together that is was the weather increasing my pain, so when i was able i moved to Santa Barbaa CA. as i studied the weather there seemed much better, well got there and it was too cold too. Moved back to Colorado fo a coouple of years until i could find another prospect i found south TX. warm for sure. well, i am here now and STILL in horrendous pain at times, so far just as much as any where else:( i dont know the answer at this point. today it seems to be just the wind thats suppose to be here this eve. i am prescribed Fetanyl 75 mcgs every 72 hrs. , oxycodone 10 mgs up to3 x per day, Lyrica 100 mgs 2 x per day for pain. i have tried symboxin (spelled wrong) but here iwouldhave to get another Dr that my insurance doesnt cover, but it worked great. also oxycodone works good but not sure if my ins. would cover that or even if my new Dr. would prescrbe it for me. i hope this helps somebody...  Prrayers to GOD in JESUS' NAME help more than anything :)  yes, any sway in the weather seems irritate the pain.

Halojumper, Community Member
10/ 9/08 9:12am

Yes I believe that the cold can make you more sensitive to the pain, I have two damaged disc's in my back and in the winter here in the upper midwest I always seem to feel more pain from them than I do in the summer.

KarenGeorgeBSRN, Community Member
10/ 9/08 9:49am

Hi Dreamer,


If you have RSD you should not use "cold" in compresses or treatments; since those with RSD (mine is end stage systemic and quite serious) will perceive worse pain, and the RSD can spread.


Certainly with any pain disorder over time there is for most of us DDD, arthritic changes in bones, joints, and discs damaged at one point in time, and or FBS

so cold or change in seasons does increase the pain.


Barometic pressure is a key factor too; check it on line but do not get obsessed.

With increasing b.pressure LESS pain with decreasing more...


Peace out!


Karen George BS,RN,UM,QC,DON

James R. Abernathy, Community Member
10/ 9/08 10:04am

I, myself, have neck and back pain and the cold or fan blowing directly on me does make it worse.  I can also tell when the weather is going to change by the pain.

mccoy, Community Member
10/ 9/08 10:06am

Cold damp weather most definatly can make the pain or RA worse. Low pressure systems moving though the area can cause pain to be worse.  I always feel the fronts comming several hours ahead.  The fall, winter & spring low pressure systems are always worse than the summer lows.   It is possible the low pressure syatems, (damp cool rainy weather) are influencing your pain levels.   The theory is the low pressure allows your tissues (inflation) to expand and swell a little more around the affected joints, putting increased pressure on the nerves.   Some people & doctors will tell you it's not enough to make any difference, but ask any one who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and they will tell you YES it does make a difference.

drawoh, Community Member
10/ 9/08 11:16am

Is this THE dreamer?   ; )   I am not sure as I'm not a doctor, but I believe since the cold can restrict blood flow, depending on the temps and layers of clothes a person has on, that yes, it can make pain more severe.   At least it seems so to me.   So when you go outside, bundle up, wear layers and keep that neck covered.

c, Community Member
10/ 9/08 12:03pm


sasaanne, Community Member
10/ 9/08 12:27pm

I have heard different theories around this, but from my experince, i have rsds (the name has changed now, but my nerves seem to act up on there own, however my joint and where bones have broke definitely hurt more in the winter, not so much straight cold, but damp cold can be very bothersome for me..however my nana suffers from all types of arthritis, and she swears her joints are far more painful in the humid summer months..i know this probably doesnt help you, but i would say if you are the one feeling the pain, the answer is yes

Sue Crossen, Community Member
10/ 9/08 12:56pm

I believe cold weather along with rainny damp weather definately does make pain worse with arth. in all areas of your body.

sympatheticsoul, Community Member
10/ 9/08 1:58pm

I have pain with each change in weather....I have a wrist fusion and ligament damage.   I believe that anytime you have an injury....your pain level is noticably different ...with changes in barametric pressure.


My pain drastically increases with cold wet weather.  Check with your physician, he or she can council you in ways (other than medication) to reduce the effects.

R. Williams, Community Member
10/ 9/08 6:29pm


Betty Boop Too, Community Member
10/ 9/08 6:48pm

Hello Dreamer

I have alot of Chronic Pain problems from fractured disk, nerve involvement and also now have Fibro too.

The weather plays an enormous part of my pain issues and I really suffer all winter long.  I live in the Pacific NW and it's very damp, cold and windy here all winter long and if it were not for the fact that we use wood heat, I would suffer even more.  If I go out in this weather, I will be in very high pain for days following the outing, so I become nearly homebound all winter and hybernate in my home with the wood stove going 24x7 and keeping out homes temp at around 83*.

I hope this answers your question, If you have any questions your welcome to Private message me at any time.

Take Care and Stay warm


Lori Jenkins, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:03pm

Yes, most definitely.  I moved from Montana to Arizona because I couldn't stand the cold.  If it gets under 40 degrees, I'm in trouble.  I don't know where you are or what happened.  I'm just experienced in this.  Even in Arizona, it gets cold sometimes.  Do something.  I doubt you want to move but you may have to,  to relieve the pain.  I was in a near fatal car accident and I have nerve damage in my face, a slipped disc in my lower back and torn tendons in my knee.  Sometimes I can't even walk to this day.  I hope things will go OK for you.    Lori

Tudorlady, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:15pm

I have OA, dystonia, a fused neck and spine, and Reynauds Phenomena.  The cold weather definitely makes my pain worse.  My fingers turn blue and tingle painfully.  My dystonia perks up and the muscles in my neck, back, scalp, and sometimes my arms, lock down.  This, in turn, makes the fused areas feel lile they are tearing apart.  And the OA?  It's the worst in my hands.  They throb and sometimes cramp up, even in the joints that have "little tiny knee joints," as my doc calls them.


I have a good pain management specialist.  If you don't have one, you might want to consider getting one.  Also, I go out as little as possible in cold weather. 

coolmamaw06, Community Member
10/ 9/08 8:18pm

I have the same problems but with arthritis and the cold weather does make it worse. You may have some arthritis in these areas causing more pain.


Good luck

starhawk, Community Member
10/ 9/08 10:49pm

YES!  Either cold or heat in extremes can cause pain to fluctuate and certainly the cold more so than the heat for most who suffer chronic pain.  I would say especially with nerve damage because FMS (Fibromyalgia) I also have some specific areas of nerve damage.  Those areas of nerve damage have more pain than the increase of general body pain from the FMS.

Beentheregirl, Community Member
10/ 9/08 10:51pm

Yes!  I have the same problem you have.  Except I broke my shoulder and I have a metal plate in there.


I developed arthritis in both shoulders.  I have had so many injuries to my neck it's unreal.   Accidents.  


Yes!  It definitely will hurt bad in the cold weather.  I finally got sick of the pain and I

went to a Pain Management Clinic.  I take pills that contain Morphine in them, so I am

monitored.  They are VERY STRICT!  But they work!  I was put on the drug called

Avinza and while I can't say that if a bad day came I would not notice, this pill keeps

me almost pain free.  But I have "break through"  pain and that is when I reach for

the motrin.  You have to agree to their terms and tell them what you took.

You are also subject to a random drug test.  So you cannot screw this up.


I am 53.  My hands have arthritis in them - they are starting to get crooked -

so alot of pain is in the hands.  My Grandma had this.


If you hurt like I do, I would check into the pain clinic -

It WILL make you feel better!    Wink

Reesorian, Community Member
10/10/08 9:34am

Heck yes, I was injured in 1972 and can tell the weather by my back pain, thing is to keep warm get you a blanky and get in your favorite chair, you cannot fight it will just cause more pain and stiffness allso theraputic spa is a hot tip if you get my drift if you can afford it just make sure you can get prone in it, also works great for exercising and is cheaper than swimming pool to keep warm. I keep the heat at about ninty two because I have  a heart condition.

Rockville,MD, Community Member
10/10/08 10:50am

Cold and heat are funny things.  Immediately after surgery, I can't get enough of cold.  Once things become chronic, I don't tolerate cold -- compresses or environmental. 


In particular, I have had multiple surgeries on my knee and on the tibia right below the knee.  It aches terribly when it gets cold.  I am a fan of leggings under pants that are heavy enough to keep air from easily getting through them.  (I am a student so I often wear leggings + jeans.)  They are harder to find these days than when they were very popular, but I find leg warmers good.  I wear one over the affected knee when I am in the house or in bed.


I also have back and neck pain as a result of arthritis, disc problems and past surgery.  As I sit here, I have a heating pad between my low back and my chair.  The chair also has good lumbar support.  For my neck I use a neck "collar" with flax seeds in it.  The fabric outside and rice-like flax seeds are comfortable and mould well to the neck.  The collar can be heated and reheated in the microwave.  (Don't overheat -- read the instructions -- the flax seeds can burn and are nasty afterwards.)  I will say though that if my back is already throbbing and hurting AFTER a lot of time on my feet, sometimes ice will help, but that usually happens in the hot, sticky summers.  That seldom happens if it is cold outside.


As winter approaches, I hope some of those suggestions help.  One last thing I do is to sit in front of the heat vent or put a small portable heater in front of my knee.

Always_in_pain, Community Member
10/11/08 3:37am

Yes, i have lower lumbar pain, ruptured discs in L2,L3,L4,L5 with an arthric spine, siatica ect and it bothers me to no end. although i love the cold weather and always look forward to snow i guess at times i have to endure some pain to loving the cold .

 i hope this helps and you get some other responses as well good luck ,,, rob.

LargeMiddle, Community Member
10/11/08 3:01pm


crystal, Community Member
10/12/08 12:55pm

yes definatly but also remember that just as the cold irrattes you the heat can hurt you too.I have fibromlyalga and I am almost always in pain and I find that I am in the most pain when it is raining or snowing and it get cold out.

pat, Community Member
10/12/08 1:46pm

i do believe it does effect my ra and back issues. when it's cold or damp, snowing or a storm is near, my back and joints go nuts.

Lana Myers, Community Member
11/ 5/08 8:26pm


stacy, Community Member
12/15/08 12:36pm

yes, the cold weather can very much cause more pain.   i have fibromyalfia, buldge disk in my neck, severe headaches and nerve damage to my hand and wrist.  the cold makes it so i can not move my hand at all till it is warmed back up.  it also makes my muscles spasum more than they usally do in my neck and back.  when my head gets cold i can not move, i get pains in my head so bad that it feels like a foot cramp on the side of my head.  all this caused from the cold and makes the pain 10 times worse.  I live in Maine so winters are the worse months for me not going anywhere unless i have to.  so yes cold can make pain much worse.


Boogie, Community Member
1/30/09 4:19pm

I have the same thing. I had C5-6 and C6-7 fusion 5 years ago and still have chronic pain. I also have nerve damage. I live in Indiana and the winter seems to make the pain so much worse! I went to Florida a few weeks ago and my pain vanished the second day there. I think there is definitely a connection.

Boston Laura, Community Member
2/18/09 11:42pm

I had a motorcycle wreck when I was 20 that left my pelvis with 12 fractures including one right through the left side of the holes in the sacrem. Like you, I have really suffered with barometric pressure changes. I used to live in Massachusetts and was taking lots of pain killers (and admittedly, mixing them with alcohol) to try and "kill" the excrutiating pain that felt like knives jamming into me anywhere along the left sciatic nerve, most often in my toes (I had to have hammer toe surgery) or ankel (had my ankle fused to walk better in 1996). I moved to Tucson, Az in 1989 and although I miss my family, I did the best thing for me. Here, the fairly regular weather patterns compared to the frequent changes of the Boston area, have enabled me to live, for the most part, comfortably with 800 mg of Ibuprophen most of the time. Yes, there are definitely days when I want to "cut off my foot," but NOTHING like what I used to suffer in Massachusetts. The sunlight is also great for my depression (YES< chronic pain DOES cause depression!). I have taken Trazadone for years to "knock out" and sleep at night (I absolutely can't rest because of the almost constant "needles" in my foot). I have also taken tons of different antidepressants as well, and am going to go back to taking Effexor as that seemed to work the best (my doctor tried Celexa as a cheaper alternative, but it doesn't give me the same relief). YES the cold causes it, and YES you are not alone! Chronic pain is real, and I encourage anyone suffering from nerve damage to continue to seek help as there are always new advances in medicine.


Vince, Community Member
1/ 2/11 6:39am

Yes, yes , yes...


Cold weather aggravates my nerve pain in my lower abdomen which i keep having on and off after my appendix op.


Its horrible

edwin, Community Member
4/22/11 8:46am

Does your neck involuntary move to one sied ?? I have the same problem and it has been diagonised as cervical dystonia torticollis


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tammycodarin, Community Member
8/15/14 5:43pm

Absolutely!!!  watch the barometric pressure, its mostly the lower numbers, the low fronts that move through. i use to think it was just the cold, however after 8 years of watching the weather and its affects on my pain and i have found that any fluctuations in the weather causes more pain, especially nerve damage. Get well, also i pray alot... HE is there and HE seems to like helping us, FATHER SON and HOLY SPIRIT in JESUS NAME...  if HE doesnt completely heal us, HE at least helps us deal with it better :)

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By Dreamer, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/15/14, First Published: 10/05/08