Staying Pain-Free, Despite Colder Weather
Now that Labor Day is behind us, the fall season will be here before we know it. For people who live with chronic pain, the cold weather season could mean increased suffering. Does cold weather worsen your pain?
Although there’s not a lot of scientific evidence supporting a correlation between weather and chronic pain, many patients do report increased pain during colder, wetter months.
For example, patients with chronic joint pain may experience increased joint pain when the weather is especially cold or damp. Patients with low back and neck pain also report similar experiences.
Additionally, patients with osteoarthritis sometimes experience increased swelling and discomfort whenever the weather changes from warm to cold.
If you experience cold weather-related pain, one option is simply to incorporate heat therapy into your daily routine. Heat therapy decreases stiffness and promotes healing through increased circulation.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Apply a hot pack, warm towel or heating pad to the painful area. Simply doing this for 20 minutes at a time may be enough for temporary pain relief.
Use over the counter heat wraps. Available in most grocery stores/pharmacies, heat wraps can provide warmth for joint-related back pain and other symptoms for up to 8 hours at a time.
Try water therapy. You may experience pain relief by swimming in a heated indoor pool a few times per week, or by soaking a whirlpool or hot bath.
Stay active. It can be tempting to hibernate during cold weather, but inactivity can actually increase some types of pain. If you prefer to stay inside, consider purchasing a treadmill, so you can walk while you catch the evening news.
How does the weather affect your chronic pain levels? Dr. Sharma can recommend safe, effective pain solutions that will keep you feeling great all season long.