How Does Weather Affect Chronic Pain?

How Does Weather Affect Chronic Pain?

How Does Weather Affect Chronic Pain?

People have very different opinions on the colder temperatures – either they love it, or dislike it. However, regardless of your personal feelings, a drop in degrees affects the body similarly in everyone. A change in weather requires the body to function differently in order to conserve heat.

For those with a chronic condition and have a weakened system can suffer, resulting in fatigue, worsened pain, and even immobilization. In fact, 92% of patients suffering from chronic pain believe their symptoms are exaggerated when the weather gets colder. 

How Changes in Weather Impact Chronic Pain

Several studies have been conducted to explain whether changes in weather or seasons can impact chronic pain conditions. In a study appearing on NCBI, health providers demonstrated that seasonality could impact disease activity and joint distribution in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a widespread autoimmune disease. Researchers recorded noticeable changes in functional deterioration during the winter and spring seasons. 

RA patient’s often experience synovitis and functional impairment in extreme cases. The study was conducted in Japan using a countrywide Rheumatoid Arthritis database. Following the studies, healthcare providers are advised to take note of seasonal fluctuations when monitoring RA manifestation. Providers may also be forced to make adjustments in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) to help patients with RA adjust well to the seasonal changes.

Other Counter Measures

Based on the quality of studies, there are still limitations to conclude whether weather influences chronic pain. However, several general precautions have been advanced to guide health practitioners and help patients ease weather-induced joint pain. A report published by WebMD suggests the following tips to relieve joint pain when changing climate:

  • Keep yourself warm when the temperatures drop
  • Ask your physician for effective pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight and stay active
  • Take good nutrition and have sufficient sleep
  • Seek help when lifting heavy objects to avoid straining your joints

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