Scars and sports injuries can be sensitive when the rain comes or the weather changes in other ways. For many people, pain can flare up in the cold of winter. So, how does cold weather affect pain, and what can be done about it?
There are several theories behind this familiar problem, including:
- Lower temperatures cause tissues to contract, putting pressure on nerves. Different tissues contract at different rates, for example, scar tissue. This is why the site of a previous injury could experience pain in cold temperatures.
- Pressure changes – air pressure in winter drops. With this drop, the gases and fluids in joints expand, putting pressure on surrounding nerves and causing pain.
- Vitamin D deficiency. Winter brings less daylight, required for Vitamin D production, needed to maintain healthy bones and cartilage. So with less Vitamin D, pain can worsen, particularly for arthritis patients.
- Pain receptors at trauma sites become more susceptible to cold.
- Our brains affect how we feel pain, and our mood affects how we feel an old scar.
Which health conditions are commonly affected?
Arthritis patients are affected by cold weather. Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage and bone in the joints, causing swelling, stiffness, pain, and decreased range of motion. Other conditions affected by the cold are gout, migraines, and conditions of the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is responsible for sensation in the face, and cold wind on the face can stimulate the nerve, resulting in pain. And old scars remind us of that small accident that happened decades ago.
What can be done?
This is one of those situations where the doctor may tell you that it’s up to you to find the way. This is not because the doctor doesn’t want to help but because there is not much they can do. Not everything can be fixed, including old age and pain, and to complain to your doctor because he/she can’t help with the pain you had for 20 or so years will not be very useful. The medical tools used on the Starship Enterprise don’t (yet) exist.
Understanding that our brains can respond to pain in different ways is crucial. This is why antidepressants can help: they affect not the scar or the joint but how the brain perceives the pain. Exercise is a useful tool: it keeps that joint functional and makes us feel better overall.
Other forms of relief can be found in topical creams or gels to rub into the skin. Oral painkillers like acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have long-term side effects. Still, pain begets pain, so I carry acetaminophen in my purse!
Find ELS with hemp extract here: https://skinactives.com/nourishing-skin-serum-with-hemp-extract/
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