Rainy Weather Pain Tips
Georgiy Sekretaryuk
September 12, 2018
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Tips to Easing Rainy Weather Pain This Season

Rainy Weather Pain Management

Summer is done and cooked in Burnaby and Greater Vancouver, as the rainy weather has arrived and here to stay until about May. Along with the rainy weather, some of you may be experiencing an uptick in pain from a prior or underlying injury. Now the verdict is out on exactly how rainy weather and pain are tied together. But despite what critics may say, authoritative studies show that at the very least that there is evidence suggesting that pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than in others. In order to prepare for the long autumn (official rainy season in our postal code) to come, Absolute PhysioCare is here with some tips to mitigating the pain that comes along with it. Of course, the blanketed statement of “rain causes pain” does nothing to help you understand why you may be experiencing an increase in aches and discomfort. There are key reasons why the change in weather could be impacting the way your body feels, and in addressing these, we can prescribe solutions worth considering.

5 Ways Rain Can Increase Pain and What You Can Do to Alleviate It This Season

1. Reduced Activity

When it rains, you’re much less likely to go out for that jog or other physical activity that has you leaving the comforts of home. When you do this, you reduce the blood flow to important joints, muscles, and tissues, robbing them of important nutrients needed to eradicate toxins and keep your body functioning optionally. As you can see, while this correlation between rain and pain may not be direct, it’s no less impactful.

In order to combat this, remain active through all of the rainfall. Swap the seawall for the indoor track, hit the gym, and when the far and between sunny days do arrive, take full advantage of them by getting outdoors to return to the activities that keep your body moving and blood flowing.

2. Impact on Thyroid

Rain clouds equate a drop in temperature as the sun is not allowed to shine through and heat the body and home alike. This drop in temperature can increase your body’s need for the thyroid hormone. Your thyroid gland secretes the hormones necessary to control metabolism, which is your body’s means of converting food into fuel. Therefore, any disruption in the way you burn energy can affect how your muscles feel, as fluids may build in your joints as your metabolism slows, which can result in swelling that leads to pain.

Show some additional support for your thyroid function (and boost your metabolism) through the rainy season, via the following:

  • Reduce stress
  • Get enough sleep
  • Keep active (as per item #1)
  • Adopt a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals that at include selenium, iodine, zinc, thiamine, B12, and vitamin D (unless your physician dictates otherwise)
  • Eliminate refined sugars and carbohydrates from your diet
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine (coffee, cola, etc.)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat frequent small meals through the day (grazing)

3. Eating More and the Decreased Immune Function

Do you know what gives us all the munchies? No, it’s not what you think. For a variety of reasons, rain makes us eat more. Eating provides comfort from the nasty weather outside of our windows while easing boredom. In addition, the loss of natural light impacts our moods and calls upon the desire to elevate them with bad carbohydrates. In the end, eating more typically results in weight gain. Since much of the human immune system surrounds the gastrointestinal tract, overeating can cause inflammation and activate chemicals in the body that result in low levels of key nutrients such as Vitamin D, which is associated with immune system dysfunction. Given that it is well known that the immune system plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of many chronic pain conditions, every step must be made to support our immune systems through rainy season, which includes redefining rainy day diets.

4. SAD and in Pain

By now you know that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can rear it’s head in the autumn rainy season, is a very real thing. Studies show a correlation between SAD and self-reporting of not just chronic fatigue, but pain, including myofascial face pain. In addition, there is a proven link between anxiety and depression (both symptoms of SAD) and chronic back pain. If you are suffering from SAD and the chronic pain that can come along with it, we encourage you to have a look at the SAD resources made available via HealthLinkBC, in addition to considering the following:

  • Keep active (as per item #1)
  • Adopt a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D (unless your physician dictates otherwise) which is limited with a loss of natural sunlight
  • Eliminate refined sugars and carbohydrates from your diet
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine (coffee, cola, etc.)

5. An Overall Lack of Attention to Physical Health

The rainy season can have you sideline attention to your physical health beyond the items addressed above. Since we’re not focused on being “beach ready” (etc.) we get into the habit of letting our overall health and wellness slide which contributes to the rise of pain from past injuries. The next best step you can take to abating rainy weather pain, is to work with a physiotherapist. By making physiotherapy a part of your health and wellness regime through the physical fitness “shoulder season” you’ll have a much better shot at mitigating the pain in your legs, back, neck, and shoulders alike. By visiting a physiotherapist near you just once a month, you can effectively eradicate seasonal pain. If you reside in the Greater Vancouver area, contact our Burnaby clinic right away to schedule your first consultation and enjoy a pain-free rainy season.

 

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