By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist
Do You Have Chronic Pain? JOI Can Help!
It’s Raining. It’s Pouring. The Old Man is Snoring. His Head is Sore, and His Body Aches, and it Hurts to Get Up in the Morning.
Chronic pain sufferers can often feel a weather change in their bodies before they can see it outdoors. Rainstorms, seasonal temperature drops, even just a direction change to the wind can cause pain and inflammation in a person’s joints and muscle tissues and pressure to build up in their head and sinuses. Why is this, and what can be done to treat and prevent it?
First, we need to learn about weather effects. Most people know that when the atmosphere’s pressure is low, clouds and rain are much more likely. What they may not realize is that this dampness can also increase pain and stiffness in the body. One theory about why the reduction in pressure in the atmosphere allows bodily fluids to move from blood vessels to tissues. This causes swelling and pressure on the nerves in those tissues and an increase in fluid in the affected joints. The pressure on the nerves and joints would naturally cause increased pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Barometric pressure changes and humidity changes, and temperature might also affect the brain’s pressure or how the brain blocks pain-causing an increase in headaches and migraines.
Weather Contributes to Increased Pain in Several Ways:
- Blood Flow: Cold temperatures cause blood to be diverted to the body core (chest and abdomen), so there is reduced blood flow to muscles. This leads to muscles feeling stiff.
- Activity: People are generally less active in cold weather; thus, joints and muscles get less blood flow. Blood flow brings nutrients to tissues and clears away toxins.
- Hormone: In cold weather, the thyroid gland has to ‘step up to the plate’ and do a bit more work to keep your body temperature up. As we age, we have less reserve in the thyroid gland so that we will run colder. This may be part of why many older adults keep the heat in their homes turned up so high.
- Immune System: In cold weather, we are more likely to gain weight because we eat more carbohydrates (comfort foods) and fats. Very often, since much of the immune system surrounds the GI tract, this poor diet causes a general state of inflammation in the body, activating certain chemicals in the body. Low levels of Vitamin D (very common) are associated with immune system dysfunction.
- Cloudy and short days: Some people develop what is commonly known as Seasonal Depression. Depression is very closely associated with chronic pain. For example, studies show that people with Rheumatoid arthritis are much more likely to have depression.
What can you do to help Relieve this Weather Activated Pain?
Some home remedies for weather activated pain:
-Celery removes excess water from tissues
-Garlic prevents immune system suppression, allowing a normal immune response.
If you think that your chronic pain is being caused by arthritis, you should see an orthopedic physician to be assessed.
Massage Therapy and Acupuncture for Chronic Pain
If you suffer from chronic pain and are looking for relief, massage therapy may be a good option for you. Multiple studies have shown that medical massage therapy can reduce muscle tension, stress, and pain. Massage therapy can help increase the blood flow and flush out any excess fluids built up in the soft tissue. Learn more about Medical Massage Therapy at JOI by watching this VIDEO.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest treatments for Chronic Pain. This treatment can be adjunct to traditional treatment of orthopaedic conditions, such as chronic neck and lower back pain, arthritis, sciatica, and fibromyalgia. We can assist in treating medical conditions, including depression, weight loss, high blood pressure, sinusitis, allergies, and anxiety. JOI provides acupuncture services at San Marco and South.
JOI also has 3 Interventional Non-Surgical Pain Management Physicians who can help you with chronic pain.
If you think you have chronic pain and want to see a JOI Orthopaedic Specialist about your pain, please call JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the button below.