People who suffer from chronic pain often experience an increase in flare ups when the weather gets very cold. This can have a negative impact on their ability to enjoy the holiday season with their loved ones, and even make symptoms of seasonal depression worse in turn.
Why Does Chronic Pain Seem to Get Worse in Winter?
There are several reasons for pain to worsen in the winter, and the cause is likely different for each person.
- Nerves are more sensitive in the cold, and previous nerve damage can flare up.
- The barometric pressure changes with weather changes, effecting joints of people who are prone to pain.
- Muscles and ligaments are less pliable in extreme cold, and this can cause a previous injury to flare up.
- Depression is associated with chronic pain, and many people find themselves more likely to experience depression in the winter months.
There is Hope for Pain Relief, No Matter the Season.
- Bundle up. This may seem obvious, however it is also key. Wear layers to trap the heat, and avoid feeling the cold on skin as much as possible.
- Enjoy hot tub or sauna time as often as possible. The physical effects of cold can be counterbalanced by extreme warmth in a spa environment.
- Install bright heat lamps and plants indoors. If the pain increase is associated with SAD, then brightening up the indoors can help ease symptoms of both.
- Do not hesitate to increase visits to pain management for additional therapies and help. Increased visits to a pain management center in Las Vegas can help patients cope better in the winter months. Extra therapy and a possible temporary increase in medication may be key.
- Get help for seasonal depression. For people prone to depression, they may find that the pain increases with an episode. Treatment to prevent or help the depression may also ease or prevent the pain.
- Plan annual vacations to avoid the coldest time. Why not avoid the coldest week or two with a Caribbean cruise, or a week on the beach in warmer climates. If it is within the budget, then plan the vacation to help ease winter pain.
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