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    Posted December 12, 2013 by
    San Francisco, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Severe weather

    Dangerous Hidden Effects Freezing Weather Has on Your Body


    When the temperatures drop as low as it has across the entire country, most people are not aware of the hidden effects freezing weather has on their body.


    Typically, people do know they can experience hypothermia, slips and falls, frostbite and other extreme-weather risks. Posture specialist, Irene Diamond says, "Aside from the usual effect of the cold where people don't even want to leave the house, I find when my clients do go outside, they experience a hidden effect that can really cause them a lot of damage and pain."


    As the clinical director of Diamond Massage & Wellness Center and Active Myofascial Therapist, Diamond goes on to share her experience in the clinic. She explains that people tend to modify their posture when the temperature is at a level that is uncomfortable for them. Depending on where a person lives, they begin to get accustom to a tolerable low temperature. But for many of us, the cold these past few weeks are not what we are used to and therefore, even though we may be bundled up in jackets and scarfs we tend to round our shoulders forward and raise them up to keep our face and neck warm. Diamond says, "While sitting or walking when we are really cold, we tend to bend forward to protect our 'tender parts' of our neck, chest and belly."


    Maintaining this forward, bent-over position for extended lengths of time can have a severally detrimental effect on our spine. Over time the hunched position can actually lead to herniation or ruptures in our discs due to the forward flexion position. The poor alignment also often contributes to severe neck and back muscular pain, headaches and eye strain.


    The best treatment is to try not to fall in to that habit of bending forward to keep warmer when outside or sitting in a cold, drafty home or work environment. Your goal is to maintain good posture and sit or stand upright with your head aligned properly over your torso and shoulders relaxed and dropped away from your ears. If you find you are experiencing muscle soreness, headaches or migraines that are more than temporary, you may want to seek advice from a pain relief specialist or your doctor.


    "The best protection is prevention", Diamond states, "So wear another layer, wrap your scarf tighter and keep your face covered when walking in the freezing elements to avoid hunching forward and causing this unknown strain and stress to your body."

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