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Cold weather post surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I live in Denver where todau it has been snowing all day. I really feel the apin on days like today :jawdrop: Does anyone have any tips on how to handle it? I can not miss work: I am curretnly a one person office; my assistant is at another location until January and when I am gone nothing gets done! I have requested a transfer to a warmer location from my company, but they move as quickly as molasses in January. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!


  • im goiing in for surgery in 2-3 weeks and was kinda of worried about being all tense from the cold. what im going to be doing is just making myslef as warm as possible and prob using a heat pack and such
  • Thanks for the response! I hope your surgery goes well! :)))
  • I had a 360 fusion 11/10/2008. I live in Wisconsin so I know cold! I haven't had an issue so far maybe because it has not been too cold. Before surgery I always knew the cold was coming and felt it in my back when I was out too long in the cold. I walk outside and feel fine so I think you will too but everyone is different. Maybe we just wish it was warmer where we live... Best Wishes to you!
  • I never had any problems with cold weather until I had my fusion. For me I think it's only the hardware that seems to get cold when I'm outside and feels uncomfortable. But I must not have as much muscle and meat back there as some people, because I can feel my screws and rods with my fingers... And I know a lot of people here said that they can't, and that I shouldn't be able to. So for me that may be part of it. But yeah, I never had any stiffness before my MicroD, or after my MicroD... Now with my fusion I use the heating pad in the morning for a little bit, and it helps a LOT.
  • That's great if you can get a transfer to a warmer place to work. You'd be leaving all your Doctors behind. Can you apply directly to the place where you want to work? Maybe that'll help it move faster. I have my heating pad on me a lot to help with the pain 20 minutes at a time only though. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I live in Denver too and my neck has been hurting with all this cold and snow we've had. I don't know what to tell you to feel better, but thought I'd let you know that there's someone on this board that's there with ya. :)

    For me, when I hurt like this I take pain meds and that seems to help. Maybe a really nice scarf? :))(

    Take care and I hope you feel better!
  • I'm in Michigan....damp cold with the Great Lakes. I don't notice having any worse of a problem on cold days and I walk outside. I wear my longunderwear and lots of polartech. I have an LLBean coat that's suppose to be warm to -20 and it does a good job. I've also heard of ppl who get thermawraps at the drugstore and use them around their back when they walk. Let us know what you come up with.
  • ...with winter & hardware...man oh man! Who needs the Weather Channel?! I missed school Monday due to the lousy storm here & I sure can feel my hardware (and whole back) now reacting to any changes in air pressure (low barometer) storm fronts, damp weather, cold...ugh!
    I also live along a Great Lake...not so great now!
    Anyone who has any good ideas? Please let me know! NS said that's just what I'll have to live with now, unless we move to Arizona! Something about the hardware reacting to the weather, which sends the muscles into spasm, which causes the nerves to react...fun, huh!
    Also now have weather-related retrun of the sciatica that drove me to the fusion last year....! Right leg/foot dead but burning, etc...at least something here is HOT~!

    Another painful Badger... ~~Lakeside
    Thank God for Valuim/Chardonnay & a good woodstove!
  • I agree with the stick on pads made for whatever the body part you have that hurts. I'm thankful for heated seats in my car because I leave straight from my heating pad in my recliner to my heating pad in my seat on the way to work. I can't stand when my teeth chatter because it's then that I get reminded of the metal in the back of my throat. Do you spend much time outdoors? Anything made of Polartec material is the warmest thing on earth. Their ear muffs scarves, jackets and they are one incredible company who deserves a tremendous amount of respect for the way they treat their employees. They have things that you can layer too which might be helpful as the day may get warmer in the afternoon than it was when you walked outside first thing in the morning. They have windproof and waterproof wear. Check LL Bean as somone else suggested. On a side note I had accounts in Denver at one time and it seemed the only time my company ever wanted me to go visit them was in the dead of Winter. I never could understand why I couldn't wait until Summer or Spring so I know that biting cold you're feeling.
  • I agree that the cold may make some of us uncomfortable...not sure if it is from tensing up the hardware making the body colder. This Saturday, I was outside for a along time taking a tour of the new Yankee Stadium. (my son is a carpenter working on the job!)..anyway..alot of walking and it was cold. I was very dressed for the weather. Well, I could barely move by the end of the nite (we went to dinner after the tour) and this morning was h**ll!! Even now (it is nite for me) I am still very stiff and painful. Gonna be along winter I guess..
  • Its a balmy 20 degrees and windy in Northern Massachusetts today. I dressed in many layers and did my 4 mile walk. It took a little longer to warm up but it was worth it. In my case a year ago, if it was cold or rainy I didn't walk and was stiff and sore all day long. Now today, I walk no matter what the weather is and I don't have the stiffness or soreness.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • If you must be out in the cold, make sure that you are moving so that your blood can circulate properly. Keep your head covered and warm as well as your hands and feet. This will make a huge difference. You can also apply the stick on warming patches prior to going out.

    One Love,

  • Thanks, all! I agree that keeping active helps, etc as does staying, or trying to stay, warm. But I never anticipated so much weather-related pain...just another "perk" from the fusion, huh!

    Felt a bit better today, as the storm dumped 10" of snow here then moved along...barometer went back up & it's cold yet but not as damp.

    Question: if the cold bothers us so much, why does an ICE PACK feel so good?! i get much better pain relief from ice than from heat. Any opinions??

    Courage, all! Only 4 months to SPRING!

  • Lakeside, you make me laugh! I agree ice feels so good, but cold weather just is lousy.

    I'm stuck here in the midwest and I have an amazingly accurate barometer stuck in my back. I think the weather channel should hire me----I'd be more accurate than any forecaster they have! The day before a front is the worst----By the time the snow hits, I'm feeling great.

    Good to know I'm not alone. I'm thinking retirement in Arizona might just be a medical requirement.........
  • has anyone worn one of those patches that stays warm for 8 hours when out in the cold? I can't remember the brand of it, but it is filled with charcoal and different sizes are made for different areas of the body. I was thinking if i put one of these on my neck when outside, i wouldn't stiffen up so much and maybe not have as much reaction to the cold..but this is a stupid question. my plate is in the front..would I put it on the back of my neck or the front??thanks! rainy and freezing in NY today..not good walking weather
  • A front is supposed to move in tomorrow, the high in Denver will be 20 degrees! I am really hurting and have had to take a percocet. Anyway, it is good to know that I am not alone in this, so thanks for all who have responded. when I ahve to be out tomorrow, I will wear my ski coat and long undies!
  • Those patches are expensive about $12. for about 2 patches. in the drugstore. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I use those patches at times too and they are expensive. I know some pharmacies have generic brand such as rite aid. I live in Southertier NY so I know what you mean about the cold getting to your back and the hardware. I also feel lousy on damp and rainy days too.
  • Hey you Americans are getting more snow than us in southeastern Ontario, Canada. We're getting alot of damp rain though. Take care and bundle up. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I have a little stiffness and soreness, but I am not sure if it is due to the cold weather here in Michigan. I am 16 weeks post-fusion and am doing fairly well otherwise. Outside, I wear a down jacket that was designed for people who climb mountains like Denali and Everest. Mine is a custom job, under-filled. After walking outside for 15-20 minutes I get too warm and have to unzip it a bit.

    As a side note, I had a ligament reattached in my thumb 3-4 years ago, and it has been quite uncomfortable for the past 2-3 weeks. This always happens during the winter.
  • We aure are a group of "walking (or limping...) baromoeters" now, aren't we?!

    A front is moving thru as I write---started yesterday w/ rain, damp; now temp is dropping, wind is picking up & we're getting freezing rain/turning to ice & 5 above by tomorrow AM.

    So far today I doubled up my meds, wore out 5 ice packs & am now on 2nd glass of wine...

    Question: I know most of this is hardware-related (NS said) Does it improve as the fusion heals? I'm about 70& fused, but my hardware seems to "suck" all the bad weather directly into the rods/screws etc. My NS said he could eventually remove it, after I;m totally fused, but I wonder: would it help the weather-related pain to have that metal out? Or could some of this be just the price for the re-arrangement of body-parts??

    It just hurts so much! 1st winter now w/ all this stuff in there...didn't expect this! Sciatica also seems worse during bad weather.

    Sorry for complaining...I just ache so much it's almost making me feel sick tonight! Just a deep/dark/colbalt-blue nauseating pain right smack in the middle of all my NS' hard work area! Bah!! Any advice?

  • I get the feeling things might get a bit better after you're totally fused, but I also think you (we) will feel this to some extent every winter for the rest of our lives :''( :''(
  • I tend to agree---once I'm fully fused (NS said by next summer, as I'm about 70% now) it should be a bit better--but my question was: has anyone who had their hardware removed noticed any improvement in weather-related pain? I just think a lot of my discomfort is from the metal's rections to the horrible weather we have here (Wisconsin) & I would hate to think this will be my "lot" for the rest of my life. A 4th surgery is certainly NOT on my list---but if the hardware will have served its purpose & then continues to cause me pain..well...??! What's the benefit in that?!

    Mu NS suggested removing my nuts/bolts etc next year if things continue to bother me so much---but would it really make any huge difference? That's what I;m wondering----as I sit here, enduring another snowstorm w/ sleet/rain & falling barometer on the way....

    Or should I just get used to it? Anyone out there who got some relief? Other than moving to Arizona... :)


  • My dear Lakeside,

    Rest asured, it will get better. My first winter, last year, was torture. The cold weather caused me to do a bad impression of the Tin Man from the Wizard..., you know the rest. Anyway, this being my second winter, things are much better. Today is a perfect example. We had our first snow storm over night and this morning. I put on my "Yak Traxs"(attach to bottom of shoes and grip on ice and snow) and walked my 4 miles. I wasn't stiff prior to the walk, during or after the walk. You and your back have been through alot and time will heal, eventually.

    The cold weather's effect on my hardware is not a factor and I for one wouldn't want it removed unless its causing me pain.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • ...my dear Admn! I certainly hope things get better NEXT YEAR...as my NS said they probably would--or he said at least by then I'll know what I just "have to live with"...

    Weather Channel is predicting 8-10" of new snow by tomorrow PM + blowing/gusting winds off the Lake (NE wind--the worst re dampness, etc) Just sometimes can't abide it all!!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence! I walk as much as possbile--will try the Yax Trax, as one of my MAJOR fears (besides a 4th procedure....) is FALLING...! But I love to walk & will try that idea, along w/ my cane that has a spike on the tip, for winter.

    Love the "Tin Man" analogy---I feel like how Frankenstien walks---clump * clump * clump* except the bolts are in my back, not my neck, haha!

    Sounds like you're doing well! Great to hear! you're about a year ahead of me, so you are my inspiration! :)

    For now, I';ll leave the hardware in, altho it still hurts me a lot....like a permanent "banana clip" in there, pinching & sticking me :''( ...but maybe that's what it's supposed to do?!

    Ach! On to grading some papers & then a nice rest by the woodstove! It could always be worse, yah!

  • I'm hoping to schedule my surgery (ALIF or hybrid ADR/ALIF) in late March or April. I live in NC, so it isn't cold like NY, CO, and those much colder states, but I get cold easily. Probably because I don't have a lot of padding. But I'm hoping that by scheduling it in early spring, that my walking and recovery will be easier. Now the heat probably isn't great either, especially if I have to wear a brace, but I'd rather be hot than cold.

    I really hope that the effect of the cold affecting the hardware does indeed start to go away after a while. It certainly would be better to leave it in, than to have to go through another surgery.
  • IT WON'T warm up! This is the craziest winter in years. It had to happen on the year that I had a fusion. Just my luck. We may see a White Christmas though.

    Yesterday I sat in my recliner with the heat pad on all day and had no problems. Today, I drove into work (with the snow falling) and now my back feels tight and my legs feel like I have pulled muscles. It will be a fun drive home.
  • :''( That;s how I feel today- this weekend another front is supposed to be moving into Denver, so I'll feel it.
    Remember Bullwinkle's weather forecasting bunion? We have weather forecasting spines!
  • I had to laugh...my last name is bullwinkel! thanks for the chuckle..at least there is some good in having such a dumb name!
  • I live in Minnesota and just had cervical fusion with hardware less than two weeks ago. It has been below zero with wind chills since my sugery and I feel it to the core.

    Does a heating pad work better than ice for this pain? I may have to invest in a heating pad.

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