As long-time chronic pain sufferers know, changes in the weather mean changes in pain. Many pain sufferers report that weather changes, especially rain or cold, make their pain worse. However, there is evidence to suggest that hot and humid summer days are actually worse for pain than any other kind of weather.
Barometric Pressure and Pain
Air pressure, otherwise known as barometric pressure, refers to the weight of the air, and it can change depending on the weather. For example, high pressure is associated with a clear day, whereas low pressure means a storm is coming.
Some medical theories suggest that drops in pressure are often associated with pain flare-ups as they increase pressure on the joints. That said, heat and humidity affect inflamed tissue, along with the way joints expand and contract.
Heat and Chronic Pain Conditions
Many chronic pain conditions are adversely affected by summer’s high heat and humidity. They include:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): While pain hasn’t always been a common symptom associated with MS, it does in fact, play a big role in this chronic neurological disease. Any rise in temperature means worsened symptoms, which means a hot summer day can make pain exponentially worse. This problem is so common, it has a name: Uhthoff’s Syndrome. Once the heat backs down, symptoms tend to disappear.
- Migraines & Headaches: Fluctuations in temperature can trigger tension migraines and headaches. Changes in temperature, humidity and air pressure during warmer months can lead to dehydration, which is a common trigger for headaches.
- Fibromyalgia: According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, when the weather is humid, fibromyalgia symptoms worsen. Many patients who suffer from rheumatological conditions have a condition known as temperature sensitivity, which means any extreme temps, hot or cold, can lead to worsened symptoms or pain.
- Arthritis: A recent study showed that almost five percent of people with osteoarthritis report that their pain worsens in hot weather. Temperature and humidity changes affect the way joint tissue contracts and expands. Because of this, hot and humid summers can make arthritis pain much worse.
How to Manage Pain During the Summer
If your chronic pain worsens during the summer months, there are a few things you can do to alleviate some of it:
- Drink Water: Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated helps you maintain electrolyte levels and avoid pain that stems from dehydration.
- Wear Loose Clothing: Tight clothes and heavy fabrics make the heat worse. Wearing linen or light cotton clothing keeps your body cool and comfortable, and allows sweat to easily evaporate.
- Swim: Not only is swimming a great cardio exercise, it’ll also help keep you cool and take pressure off of your joints.
- Stay Inside: If humidity and heat cause your pain to worsen, spend time indoors by the A/C. The cooler indoor weather will help you regulate your body temperature. Spending time outside can make joint pain worse and your anti-inflammatory medication less effective.
Chronic Pain Care in Houston: Minivasive Pain and Orthopedics
At Minivasive Pain, we specialize in pain management. It is our mission to treat the causes of your pain with both the highest standards of care and quality. With several locations throughout the Houston area, caring for your back pain is easy. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.minivasivepain.com/contact-us/ or call us at (346) 800-6001.