As the temperatures drop with the arrival of winter, people faced with chronic pain can be troubled by the effects of winter. For those with chronic pain, it can interfere with daily activities, causing symptoms such as muscle spasms, muscle tightness, and painful nerve flare-ups. So, why do more people experience pain during the colder months? How can you take care of yourself this winter without chronic pain? As an urgent care practice, we’re here to provide some quick ways to alleviate chronic pain this season and help you get back to what you love most about winter.
Why Does Chronic Pain Become Worse in Winter?
Colder temperatures can cause many reactions in our bodies. When it gets cold, our body attempts to store our core body temperature at the center of our body, leaving our extremities colder and frozen to the outside weather. This is because our blood vessels are constricted at our extremities when we’re cold, which can affect those sensitivities to the cold by causing chronic pain in the knees, arms, hands, feet, and head. Our nerves also become more sensitive to pain due to the constant barometric pressure changes within winter, making it more unbearable.
Chronic pain also flares up during the winter due to how we psychologically respond to the cold. More people tend to stay inside during colder seasons, often decreasing strength and flexibility in our muscles and joints. Mental ailments such as seasonal affective disorder can disrupt our mood, causing us to feel more depressed, tired, and isolated than usual. Chronic pain becomes more prominent because, in truth, it is.
How To Fight Off Chronic Pain This Upcoming Winter
Despite the effects the cold can bring, it’s important to find ways to combat the winter cold and make sure you stay healthy. Our suggestions for keeping your body healthy and pain-free this winter include the following:
- Dress in Layers: Layering your clothes outside will help prevent body heat from escaping and improve blood flow to the muscles.
- Heat and Cold Therapies: Heat therapy can help relieve muscle spasms and stiffness, cold therapy can reduce inflammation and swelling, and both can help with certain injuries.
- Stay Physically Active: Inactivity can aggravate pain levels, so staying active can keep you warm and help you fight off pain naturally.
- Adjust Your Diet: Eating a healthy nutrient-filled diet can help improve your immune system and give you the broadest range of vitamins to protect you from the cold season.
- Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated during winter can help promote better blood circulation and soothe issues with chronic pain.
If you experience any unusual symptoms in your body and want to resolve issues of chronic pain, then make sure to speak with a consultant for pain management as soon as possible. If your symptoms are more urgent and over-the-counter medications are unable to help, then make sure to visit your local urgent care as soon as possible.