Summer has not quite arrived, and already we are experiencing 90+ degree days and high humidity. These conditions are hard to handle for just about anyone, but if you suffer from chronic pain, it can be an especially challenging time.
Why Does Weather Affect Pain?
You may have heard someone warn of an approaching storm because they can “feel it in their bones.” Turns out, this is actually a real thing. Drastic changes in weather, like an oncoming storm, or in our case, a sudden and intense heat wave, can cause pain to flare up.
There is no proven scientific consensus as to exactly why this happens, but there are a few prevailing theories.
Changes in temperature and barometric pressure
Changes in temperature and barometric pressure are considered one of the most probable causes of weather-related pain. These changes are thought to increase pain in several ways:
- Causing joints to swell and then rub against bone
- Changing the level of fluids that line and lubricate joints
- Affecting the level of ozone in the air, which may exacerbate certain chronic pain conditions
- Acting as one of many triggers of hypersensitive conditions like CRPS
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 and can agitate existing pain conditions.
How Can I Relieve My Pain in Summer?
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to beat the heat and avoid pain this summer.
Make sure to spend adequate time indoors where you can run a fan or air conditioner to cool your body down. Try to avoid prolonged periods outdoors in the middle of the day, when the sun is at it’s peak strength. Swimming is a great summer activity that provides the benefits of low-impact exercise while keeping your body temperature regulated. When you do go outside, consider bringing something to help you keep cool, such as a handheld misting fan or ice pack.
Don’t give the heat and humidity any help. If they can cause inflammation, then your diet should be rich in healthy foods that can reduce inflammation. One good idea is to swap out sugary snacks for fruits that are rich in antioxidants and inflammation fighters, such as fresh berries, melons, and peaches.
It is so important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer when the heat and humidity require increased water intake for your body to function properly. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and headaches, as well as aggravating chronic pain symptoms. Be sure to carry a bottle of fresh, cold water with you as often as possible so you can replenish your fluids often.
Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy the warmth and the sun. If you suffer from chronic pain, don’t let it keep you indoors. With a little planning ahead and the right attitude, you can beat the heat and make the most of your valuable time this summer!
Pain Management at Twin Cities Pain Clinic
The above tips are great ways to temporarily help keep pain at bay, but they are not treatments. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, please contact us. We offer the most advanced and effective treatment options that could significantly reduce or even eliminate persistent pain.
CALL: (952) 841-2345