If you’re like many people living with chronic pain, you feel worse when the cold weather sets in. While there’s not as much scientific evidence as you’d think that connects weather changes and chronic pain, some studies have shown slight associations between pain and temperature, humidity, wind speed and barometric pressure. Most evidence is linked to weather’s effects on those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
There may not be much documentation out there regarding pain and cold weather, but we know it exists. We have heard many patient experiences that tell a big story. Social media alone is filled with those who insist winter worsens their chronic pain.
Some studies show that those suffering from osteoarthritis report a greater sensitivity to cold and pressure than those without arthritis despite different parts of the body being tested. The results show that chronic pain can change the way nerves respond to stimuli and thereby increase their sensitivity to outside factors like weather and temperature.
Tips to Help You Manage Chronic Pain
Now that fall has given way to winter, here are some tips to help you with pain management.
- Apply hot compresses, warm towels or heating pads to the painful area for 20 minutes each time. Heat wraps are also good choices, which can provide relief for joint-related pain for up to eight hours.
- Take a swim in a heated pool several times a week, or whenever you feel the most pain. Soaking in a hot tub, hot bath or whirlpool is also a great idea.
- Keep active: You may be tempted to sit on the couch all winter, but being inactive can actually make you feel worse. If you find it difficult to get outside, get a treadmill and walk or run on it every day. This way, you can watch TV while you work out!
- Stay on top of your regular doctor visits. Report any increase in chronic pain and follow all recommendations for pain management.
Do you feel worse when winter hits? Contact Atlanta Medical Clinic to schedule a free consultation today.