Weather Sensitive Pain
Many people believe that cold weather joint pain and barometric pressure headaches are a myth, a complaint taught to them by their parents to explain why they were grouchy or not feeling well on any particular day. Recently, however, the medical community has come on board, reporting that the phenomenon is real.
What is confusing is that the barometric pressure is the determining factor, not the weather we see outside at the moment. Most often a falling barometer is the culprit, although in a minority of cases the opposite can be true. The effect is also more pronounced the colder it is.
It may look gorgeous outside, but a cold, rain front is on the way, and those with weather-sensitive pain will complain. Likewise, it may be raining outside, but a warm front is about to move in and the afflicted may feel better. People with this problem become the best weathermen around.
Weather-sensitive pain is caused by the Sympathetic Nervous System. This portion of the nervous system monitors for injury of soft tissues in the body. It also regulates those functions that occur automatically, such as heart rate, swelling of the fingers on a hot, humid day, sweating, and constriction of blood vessels.
As a result of its ability to perform these functions, when the barometer is about change the sympathetic system responds. If a body part is or has been injured, then it can be more sensitive to a rain or cold front on the way in, and pain may occur. For example someone with a knee injury may complain of knee pain if a weather front is about to move in.
Sometimes this condition becomes more severe and the pain can be excruciating. If it is bad enough, then a medical diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy might be given. In others where the problem is moderate in nature, Fibromyalgia may be diagnosed. If there is arthritis present, then the pain is often attributed to that. In all cases, however, the sympathetic system is the source of the pain. Weather Sensitive Pain
While traditional arthritis and pain medicine can help, special treatments that increase blood flow are often much more effective. Think of someone having a heart attack. While you might want to give pain medicine, you definitely would want to give medicine to improve blood flow as well. Certain kinds of injections, nerve blocks, and physical therapy can also provide significant relief.
Home remedies include stretching, taking an Epsom salts bath, or trying to keep warm. In fact, there are so many options available today to help with sympathetic pain that no one should have to accept the old adage “learn to live with it” without giving at least some of them a try.