From hot to cold: A Ft Lauderdale chiropractor discusses how temperature affects joints and pain
South Florida’s summer heat came early this year and if predictions are correct, it’s going to be a very hot summer, by South Florida standards. Hot weather is difficult on the body and everyone is affected. Those who suffer the most, though, are people with chronic pain, because their systems cannot regulate as effectively in hot weather. A skilled Ft. Lauderdale chiropractor will be able to help you alleviate that pain, through gentle manipulations that help restore the joints to better functioning.
But why is heat such a pain for people with a chronic pain condition? In South Florida, the problem is heat combined with humidity, which acts to increase inflammation, and subsequently, causes pain in joints and muscles.
Weather can also, in fact, trigger migraines. According to arthritis.org, studies show that 50 to 80 percent of all people who get migraines believe weather can set off a headache. “In a study published in 2004, Patricia Prince, MD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, asked 77 migraine sufferers to keep calendars documenting their migraines over a period of two years. She then compared those to records kept by the National Weather Service. About half of study participants got migraines that coincided with weather changes, but not all who were weather sensitive had the same triggers. Some seemed most vulnerable to a combination of high heat and high humidity, while others got headaches under the exact opposite conditions – low temperatures and low humidity,” according to the site.
An article on the website Everydayhealth.com states that “high heat and humidity also can exacerbate the levels of ozone in the environment, possibly causing additional distress and pain in those who have conditions such as asthma, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.” Even anti-inflammatory medication can be less ineffective in extreme heat, because the temperature can increase a patient’s level of inflammation.
If your pain increases in the heat, it’s best to stay in a cool, indoor room with the humidity levels low. Also invest in a dehumidifier to control humidity levels inside your home. As always in the heat, drink plenty of fluid, but avoid sugary sodas and other similar drinks. Your body can become dehydrated even if you remain indoors. Dehydration, in fact, is a problem for everyone engaged in outside activities. Our joint cartilage contains high water content and when the body loses fluid, such as it does through sweating, dehydration occurs if the fluid is not replenished. Dehydration also decreases the concentration of fluid in the joints, which amplifies current pain conditions, such as arthritis.
Remember: Every tissue in the body contains nerve endings, so when the pressure changes outside, your joints will feel tight or stiff. High humidity and low barometric pressure also causes joints to be uncomfortable.
Conversely, too much cold air from your car or house air conditioning can also affects joints, especially if you have arthritis, fibromyalgia, or a joint injury that causes discomfort. Experts have noted that being in an air-conditioned room for a prolonged period of time, which is what we all do in South Florida when the summer temperatures soar past 100 degrees, leads to joint and muscle pain and could cause rheumatic pain in the neck, back or legs. Any disease or condition affecting the joints or muscles can increase in severity in air conditioning. Keep the air cool when the temperatures start to increase, but not cold.
If you’re pain or stiffness is so severe that it interferes with your routine activities – or if you can’t participate in what gives you pleasure because you’re in too much pain – then pay a visit to your Fort Lauderdale chiropractor. Many reviews have lauded the benefits of spinal manipulation and its ability to help conditions such as back pain, migraines and neck pain joint conditions, and whiplash caused by car accidents.
Spinal manipulation, for those unfamiliar with the term, refers to a therapy employed by chiropractors to move the spine, using quick and effective pressure on a joint between two vertebrae of the spine, twisting or rotating the joint beyond its normal range of motion, so that it can function properly. This is done by either pushing on the vertebrae or by twisting the neck or upper part of the body. After a few weeks, you should see an improvement in your symptoms.
Always pay close attention to your pain so you can report your pain levels accurately to your chiropractor. Be prepared to discuss specifically where it hurts, to make it easier for the chiropractor to understand and treat the pain. What type of pain is it? A sharp pain, dull pain? A burning sensation? All are important to assess before the healing can begin. Do you have past injuries, even from years ago? These still could be affecting your health, either from a sport you played in high school or from an accident that occurred. Also tell the chiropractor about surgeries that you have undergone to ensure that the chiropractic spinal adjustment is not performed to close to where a surgery occurred. And when does it hurt – when you walk, sit, lay down? All three? This is also important.
A chiropractor is a healer who is an expert in finding ways to diminish pain. So when you’re out in the heat this summer or inside an air-conditioned house, be careful not to overdo it. Be kind to your bones and joints and seek help from the healing hands of a skilled Fort Lauderdale chiropractor whenever you feel discomfort – it will help you to engage in your favorite activities all summer long!