As the hot weather and long hours of summer approach, it’s a good idea to think about how the heat and summer affect chronic pain. Here are a few things to think about:
High humidity may affect joint pain such as arthritis. Some people with chronic pain complain that the heat makes their joints feel stiff and tight. These uncomfortable sensations are due, possibly, to the fact that heat can cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to expand which can irritate the joints. Fluid generally helps lubricate the joints.In the warm weather, many people fail to drink enough fluids to cool their body and lubricate the joints.
The warm weather is also known to affect people with fibromyalgia. Hot weather can increase inflammation which makes anti-inflammatory drugs less effective. You may need to consult with your pain management doctor about the correct summer dosage.
A few hot weather tips for managing pain in the summer
- Stay inside where it’s cooler – if you have air conditioning.
- Exercise outdoors in moderation. It may be enjoyable to walk or garden outside – but it’s wise to take breaks and to go back inside on occasion.
- Consider using a de-humidifier to manage the high summer humidity
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids. Remember, fluids help keep the joints lubricated
- Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition helps reduce your weight and helps you feel your best
- Wear appropriate clothing. Whites and light colors work best. Natural fabrics can help.
If you take vacations in the summer, prepare for long trips by having pillows for your back and neck.
Getting enough sleep can be harder in the summer because of the longer hours and heat and humidity. If you can afford it, use the air conditioning at night. Try to go to bed at the same time each night to stabilize your sleeping patterns.
Bring stadium cushions to the ballpark. If you go to summer festivals, arts shows, or amusement parks – be prepared. Bring plenty of water and know where you can sit. You might invest in a light portable fabric chair.
This blog does not constitute medical advice
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