April 30, 2019
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Those who experience chronic pain are often quick to notice how the changing seasons and related weather patterns affect their condition. Seasonal changes and their associated weather differences can lead to increases and decreases in barometric pressure (air pressure) that may, in turn, affect the body. Some changes increase pain while others may actually decrease pain and improve other aspects of your health. Other factors, such as temperature and humidity, may also play a role in affecting your pain level.
Research in this area has been mixed and there still isn’t a clear understanding of how seasons and weather changes affect pain. The answer may be a combination of a particular barometric pressure, temperature, rain, and humidity level that occurs during a summer storm or other event, or it may be explained solely by barometric pressure (or another factor) alone.
In what specific ways are the 4 seasons known for affecting pain levels? Here’s a closer look:
Spring and Summer
April showers bring May flowers, as the old saying goes, but April showers also bring storms that trigger massive drops in barometric pressure. These drops can lead to increased joint pain and sinus pressure (just in time for the dreaded allergy season).
Here in Florida, our weather tends to present itself less in seasonal patterns and more in the form of wet and dry seasons. It’s that wet season that may just cause the most problems. Rainy weather as a whole is associated with greater pain levels, as is cooler weather. Since spring is a usually time of shifting between warmer days and cooler nights, it can also be difficult for people with conditions that cause chronic pain.
The consistently warmer temperature of summer, meanwhile, has the health benefit of expanding the blood vessels and helping to lower blood pressure, and while warmer temperatures may be less likely to cause pain, the summer can also bring along an increase in humidity, which certainly does. Migraine sufferers also report an increase in headache pain during extreme weather changes, such as the intense Florida heat that is so characteristic of summer.
Fall and Winter
Fall and winter are cooler seasons and that colder weather is said to be one of the biggest triggers for joint pain. While our temperatures may not drop as far as other regions, particularly during the winter months, they do drop, especially at night. This is a time of year when you want to protect your joints by wearing warm clothing and minimizing your transitions from heated buildings to the cold outdoors. Try to take advantage of the days, particularly in early fall (and early summer), when the weather is at its most moderate. Use those days to exercise as comfortably as you can, boosting your mood and your circulation.
Chronic pain brings with it good days and bad days. Learn your triggers and share them with your Riverside Pain physician by keeping a journal of those days when the rainy weather or the extreme heat kept you inside nursing an ice pack or a heating pad. We’re here to help you live pain free, no matter what weather the seasons may bring. Send us a message to learn how we can care for you and your pain.
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