Summer is just around the corner, and we’ve already experienced some high temperatures in Minnesota. If you suffer from joint pain or other persistent pain conditions, you’ve likely already noticed the impact of hot temperatures and high humidity levels on your body.
Heat and humidity affect everyone, but people with persistent pain conditions are particularly susceptible to their negative effects because they have more difficulty regulating their systems during extreme temperature changes. Summer joint pain can aggravate existing symptoms and cause increased pain levels.
Summer Joint Pain: Health & Hydration
Some studies suggest that temperature changes can also cause fluctuations in fluid levels, which can lessen lubrication of the joints, thereby increasing inflammation and pain.
Dehydration is anther cause of joint pain. The joint cartilage in our bodies has a high-water content. When the body loses fluid through sweating and is not replenished, dehydration can occur. Dehydration decreases the concentration of fluid in the joints, agitating existing pain conditions such as arthritis that are already present.
Minimize Pain During Summer
- Stay Cool – Stay cool by heading indoors where you can run a fan or air conditioner to cool your body down. Shifting the schedule of your outdoor activities to the early morning or late evening will help avoid times when the sun is at it’s peak strength. Swimming is a great summer activity that provides the benefits of low-impact exercise with temperature regulation. Other ways to cool off while outside include using a misting fan, cold pack, or sprinkler to keep the heat at bay.
- Stay Healthy – Make sure you are choosing healthful foods. Summer is the perfect time to swap out sugary snacks for fruit rich in anti-oxidants and inflammation fighters, such as fresh berries, melons, and peaches.
- Stay Comfortable – Lots of summer activities involve uncomfortable furniture – think bleachers at a ball game or lumpy air mattresses during a camping trip. Plan ahead by bringing a cushion to sit on that more evenly distributes the weight in your hips or a lumbar support for long car rides.
- Stay Hydrated – It is important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer when the heat requires higher water intake for your body to function properly. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and headaches, as well as aggravating persistent pain symptoms.