Do April showers bring May flowers or just a lot of aches and pains? While research on how weather affects a person’s pain levels is inconclusive, many people swear that the pain in their joints or ache “in their bones” can predict rainy or chilly weather ahead. The general theory is that this is caused by changes in temperature and barometric pressure.
“Sometimes joint pain can occur in flares that your body can predict: a change of weather in a usually dry climate, a change of temperature or staying in contact with water for too long,” says Dr. Ken Redcross, author of “Bond: The 4 Cornerstones of a Lasting and Caring Relationship with Your Doctor” and founder of Redcross Concierge. “Particularly as we age, pain tends to sneak in, so managing it is a useful skill to acquire. However, it’s not just about taking a pill to numb the pain and hoping for as few side effects as possible.”
If a chill in the air or damp, humid temps bring you discomfort, Dr. Redcross recommends the following simple measures, which may help you find relief:
• Keep Moving: Inclement weather can keep us sedentary. When you reduce your movement or don’t get out as much, pain can increase. Don’t let potential aches and pains stop you from regular activity. The sooner you start moving, the better you will feel.
• Know Your Limits: Don’t increase the intensity of physical activity too quickly, especially if you have existing cardiovascular, joint or muscle problems that could be aggravated as a result. Work with a licensed trainer at first, who can assess your strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, and create a custom workout program accordingly.
• Relieve Pain Naturally: The next time you experience pain, avoid popping a conventional pain reliever. Arnica montana, a type of mountain daisy, has been used for centuries for natural pain relief and is one of the most popular homeopathic medicines worldwide. As a first-line therapy, consider using an unscented, non-greasy topical treatment like Boiron Arnicare Gel for muscle pain, stiffness and swelling from injuries and bruises. More information can be found at Arnicare.com. Claims for Arnicare are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. They are not FDA evaluated.
• Spice it Up: Turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper all have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as many other health benefits. Stick to an energy-boosting diet by giving your foods a low-calorie kick with spices, roots and herbs.
Don’t let the weather get the best of you this spring. With a few key strategies, you can better manage weather-related joint pain, rain or shine.