How Summer Heat Could Be Making Your Chronic Pain Worse

For many people, changes in the weather could worsen pain caused by old injuries or conditions such as arthritis. Have you ever heard someone say, "My knee's acting up again? It's going to rain. "? It turns out that the weather can have a lot to do with flare-ups of chronic pains. Here are a few examples. 

 Arthritis 

While most people seem to be bothered by the cold, it turns out that 5% of adults with arthritis complain that they have more flare-ups in the heat. This can be explained by the changes in temperature and humidity. These influence how ligaments and tendons in and around a joint expand and contract, which in turn can cause irritation and pain to the area. 

 Multiple Sclerosis 

Many kinds of pain can be caused by this chronic neurological disease. But just how does the heat affect those who suffer from it? It turns out that any time the body temperature rises, even when it's caused by the weather, the symptoms of MS get worse. It's called the Uhthoff sign. The good news is that as soon as the temperature is brought back down, the symptoms subside. 

Fibromyalgia 

It's reported that more than 80% of patients suffering from fibromyalgia found that changes in the weather increased their discomfort. While it was more common for cold and wet weather to be the cause, some have found that all levels of extreme temperatures whether hot or cold, increased muscle pain, and even fatigue. 

 Headaches and Migraines

Both tension headaches and migraines can be triggered by or made worse by extreme heat. This is usually because we don't drink enough water and ultimately the heat causes dehydration. 

How can you avoid the heat's painful symptoms? 

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink not only water but drinks full of electrolytes.

  2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These will only dehydrate you quicker.

  3. Stay in the shade, in front of the fan, or an air-conditioned environment.

  4. Keep your skin covered up with loose-fitting, cool clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

  5. When you're on the go remember to bring your water bottle.

  6. Invest in a small mini-fan to keep with you when you can't control the temperature around you.

  7. Wear a cold washcloth on the back of your neck and run cold water over your wrists if you get over-heated.

 

Josh Evans