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Grandmother and child gardening outside.

Tips for Managing Chronic Pain in the Summer

Chronic pain can impact your daily routine no matter what the weather is like, but many people find that the heat can exacerbate symptoms. While experts can’t always identify the exact mechanisms behind this correlation, people with the following conditions often report worsened symptoms during the hot weather:

  •       Arthritis
  •       Multiple sclerosis
  •       Headaches and migraines

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the heat’s effects on your pain so you can enjoy your summer.

Take a Swim

Water therapy has been shown to improve pain, quality of life, and fatigue in patients with pain conditions. Being in the water has multiple benefits: it can reduce the gravity that strains joints, muscles, and other tissues, increase circulation, and manage inflammation. Whether in the pool, lake, or ocean, see if you notice the benefits of a swim session.

Do What You Can to Stay Cool

It’s challenging to avoid the heat when you want to enjoy outdoor activities. You can still spend time outside, but try these tips to avoid extreme heat:

  •       Bring a tent, parasol, or other type of shade to the beach
  •       Plan any yard work, errands, or other activities for the morning or evening
  •       Wear a hat to keep your face cool
  •       Stay in the shade whenever possible
  •       Make sure the AC in your car and home are working efficiently

Trim Down Your Travel Time

If you’re planning a summer excursion, make attempts to break up travel into shorter, more manageable legs. Long periods of sitting put immense stress on the neck, arms, back, and legs, and can therefore contribute to widespread pain. Aim to take an hourly break to get out and stretch, which is also beneficial for circulation and preventing blood clots.

Consider the Air Quality

When you spend more time outdoors, it’s especially important to monitor air quality levels. Air pollution can cause cellular injury and inflammation, which puts added stress on the systems that are already inflamed and causing pain. Use the Air Quality Index (AQI) online tool to check your area’s levels before heading out for the day.

Keep Up with Meals

Whether you have a packed vacation itinerary or the heat suppresses your appetite, you may find yourself eating less during the summer. While you can listen to your body’s hunger cues, be mindful to get plenty of nutrition each day. 

Many summer-fresh foods are high in nutrients that can help you combat pain, too. For instance, according to the USDA, cherries have compounds that can help calm pain and inflammation.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration reduces pain by helping the body fight inflammation by flushing out toxins and keeping joints well-lubricated. You’ll lose more water when you sweat in the summer, so that’s another reason to take in plenty of fluids. Aim to get at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day, and snack on foods with high water content such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber. 

For an effective pain management strategy that helps you feel your best in any weather, call 770-929-9033 or schedule an appointment online.

Woman holding sore joint while running in cold weather, wondering how does weather affects joint pain.

Bad Joints in Certain Weather? What to Do!

When bad weather starts to roll in, it’s common for anyone with joint pain or arthritis to instantly grow worried. Many people know that when rain or cold hits, it can be disastrous for their afflicted joints.

The truth is, doctors and scientists alike have both looked into this claim that bad weather increases joint pain. They have found that this claim is true for many people. So, if the storm clouds start to gather and you feel your knees begin to ache, know that you’re not alone.

If you’re looking for a solution to how bad weather affects joint pain, keep reading below. bad weather affects joint pain

Why Does Bad Weather Affect Joint Pain?

Think about the things that make bad weather what it is. The barometric pressure of the air, the level of humidity or precipitation, and the temperature. Out of that list, it’s hard to pinpoint which exactly is the true cause of joint discomfort. But, it is safe to say all play a part in creating the nasty weather that squeezes the joints, the cartilage inside the bone, and the exposed nerves.

In most cases, many people will complain of joint pain when it’s raining, particularly humid, and if a cold front has come through.

How to Help Joint Pain When the Weather Changes

Keeping the above in mind, here are the things you can do to alleviate any joint pain you may feel:

  • Keep yourself warm. When it gets colder and you start to feel your joints twinge in pain, reach for things that will warm you back up. Options include additional layers of clothing, warm baths, and hot presses.
  • Certain pain medications prescribed by your doctor can help make the pain easier, as can over-the-counter options.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, get exercise, and have plenty of sleep. You’ve heard time and time again how good these habits are for your body. That includes joint discomfort.
  • Paraffin baths are a favorite of many people who have joint problems. This tool melts wax in a small container, allowing you to dip your hands and feet in. The wax hardens on skin and the warmth from the wax absorbs into the joints to warm them up. Speak to your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and do low-impact exercises. Both of these options ease the effort your joints go through on a daily basis, including those that are horribly cold and rainy.

If you have any more questions about how bad weather affects joint pain, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our pain-alleviating specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

A hot summer sky on palm tree, highlighting how hot weather affects pain.

How Hot Weather Affects Pain

While you may not think about it, spring and summer can mean more than just hot weather—it can mean extra suffering for those who suffer from chronic pain. Why is this? We’ve put together some basic information about why and how hot weather affects pain.

How Does Hot Weather Affect Pain?

  • Temperature Regulation – First and foremost, many people who have chronic pain also suffer from problems regulating their system in regards to temperature changes and moisture in the air. So, whether the temperature is moving from cold to hot or hot to cold, chronic pain sufferers will have a problem with the change of seasons.
  • Arthritis – One particular pain problem that is made worse during summer is arthritis. One theory is that there is a change in the level of fluid that lines the joints based on the temperature. As the temperature rises, there may be a change in how your joints feel and move. For some people, summer is worse.
  • Ozone Levels – Another theory regarding chronic pain and weather has to do with the levels of ozone in the environment. High heat and humidity increase the levels of ozone. For some people, particularly those who have fibromyalgia, MS and other chronic illnesses, this change in ozone levels can make symptoms more severe and makes life more difficult.

Tips for Managing Pain During Hot Weather

If you are the one suffering from pain, it does not matter to you what causes your pain to worsen—you just want relief. Consider these tips to help combat the pain as temperatures rise.

  • Avoid the Hottest Weather – If you can stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, you may be able to avoid the worst pain.
  • Use Your AC – While you may hate paying higher electric bills, the AC can be a huge help in reducing your level of pain and keeping you comfortable during the spring and summer months.
  • Eat and Drink Right – Eating a smart diet and drinking plenty of water will keep you feeling your best. A hydrated, nourished body will be able to handle the heat better than one that is starved for nutrients.
  • Consider Mint – Mint offers a natural cooling sensation. Mint products such as teas, lotions, and soaps can help you cool down and lessen the pain.

While warmer months may never be your favorite time of the year, a little knowledge can go a long way towards helping you combat heat-related pain during spring and summer months. At Alliance Spine & Pain Centers, we are proud to take a comprehensive and highly progressive approach to healing and pain management that allows us to treat each patient’s pain effectively. To learn more about methods to reduce pain or how hot weather affects pain, give us a call at 770.590.1078 or schedule a pain management consultation.