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Do you think the Change of Seasons is causing increased pain levels?

deltaladyddeltalady Posts: 610
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Chronic Pain
Happy Friday everyone :D -- yeah, sure, I bet a bunch of you are saying right now! :''(

:? It seems like I've seen a trend this week on the posts for some spikes in pain levels for a lot of people. Lots of misery going around this week. I had to break out my BT pain meds yesterday for the first time in months. My sciatica flared up out of nowhere, my biopsied foot throbbed and my head's clogged up from the ragweed -- YEAH FOR FALL! On the upside, for us football lovers, at least we have something to watch while we lay around in misery.

I think the spiney world should have a color coded warning system, you know like the ill fated terror alert system -- red, orange, yellow, etc. -- so we can prepare for these little not so delightful pain spikes.

Please jump in with your thoughts on the part the change in seasons plays on our pain levels. Wish I was a meteorologist so I could expound some intelligent theory about this subject. (LOL!)

Take care all my spineys -- thinking of you and wishing for pain free days ahead,



  • I think the change of weather is the culprit! It's causing some unbearable extra pain. It makes the normal pain worse and then adds the extra pain in places that are usually dorment most times. I wish the weather/season change would just get where it's going. It's been raining here where I'm at in tx for the last couple if weeks. I'm down and it takes me down further then stomps all over me. I need a good bt pill. Just not cutting it with regular meds. The shots I had in my spine have eased the pain and I'm moving more, but know the shots are gonna wear off. Told my pcp I could just come in once a week and get them shots and probly be good to go again. But that's too much to ask fir I suppose!
    Good topic.... I bet the change has effected the majority of us, if it's not one thing it's gonna be another. A never ending cycle, sheesh!!!

  • Normally I LOVE this fall weather. Days are warm and sunny and the nights are crisp.
    My pain does not love them!! Nooooooooooooooo it does not!! ~X(
    Today my legs are so swollen and the pain meds causes this problem. I told my Doctor about it and he said just to stop taking the pain meds!!! Well DUH!!! Don't you think I would love to stop all meds?
    But my pain meds......I can't live without them. Life is he$# without them!!
    What kind of Doctor from he%# do I have??
    It's this town and state i live in....it's the drug capitol of the world!! Doctors are afraid to write scripts for pain meds....they could get their license pulled. Chronic pain patients do not stand a chance here. We are the ones suffering.
    Sorry to rant like this. It is so flusterating.
    Even the Druggist suffer. If they fill to many scripts for pain meds they go after them!!
    Patsy W
  • I can't see how anyone with legitimate pain should have to suffer because of druggies.
    If a dr and the state can't look at a chart to see who is Not a druggie with legitimate med records to prove it a fact and who has no business and can clearly be proven in need or not, then that doesn't look like a good excuse to me for the drs to say to us,with his knowledge proof of our medical problems, that he CAN'T help with your meds. Of course unless he's has a guilty consence and dealing meds, there's no excuse for even bringing up that there could be any problems period helping someone suffering
    With such pain. There shouldn't be an issue if he's doing the 'right' thing for his patients!
    So sorry patsy, you need a new dr or set this one straight with the quality of life with and without your meds.
    Luv ya!! Big hugs!!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,848
    Judy, I definitely believe that the change of seadons can impact people that are dealing with chronic pain.
    There are well documented facts on how this does impact humans and animals alike, its not limited to those dealing with chronic pain only.

    Much of this is based more on the social-introduced aspect of different seasons. I will just use myself as an example:

    1 - During the winter, I am like a big PapaBear-Ron. I go into a semi hibernation state where I really dont do any physical work, my times at the rehab pool diminish and I know that the bottom of my seat pants and couch seats get to know each other very well.
    Now because of that lack of inactivity, I have found that more of my spine hurts, neck pain, have take a hot shower before I even attempt to do anything, etc. And from a gromming point, I am a bear and/or part of the Ape world. I could go days without shaving, wearing the same sweats or jeans I cant even begin to count the number of days before changing. So I feel a mess, I look like a mess, the about the only good thing I can do is crawl back into my den to hibernate some more.

    2 - Now Spring has arrived!!! I am out of my cave, getting up early, staying up late. Its hard to see me in a chair during that time, because I am always on the go. The more active I become the more I want todo. So not only physically am I ready, but emotionally I am so strong, nothing is going to bet me. I am at the rehab pool 2x week 1 hour each time. Then since people know I love the outdoors, I am in the yard clearing everyhing from the ground, looking for those small signs of new life coming through the ground. Even though I am more physica, I still require any additional pain medications.sss

    3 - Summer -Not much to say here, cause if there is a good day we are on our boat in the middle of the lake. Mental and Physical state still pretty good, but my arms and shoulder begin to warm me about the upcoming leaves that will fall followed by the white sonw

    4 - Fall - World Series - Yipee!!! Football starts ! - Yahoo. I do notice I start to slow down a bit at this part of the year. How much is mental and how much has valid science behind it, I dont know.

    And the seasons start all over again. Now this is a scenario while leaving in the North East (Connecticut) In living in Zones 4 - 5 ish, the average temperature for each season is pretty consistent from year to year.

    So back to your original question.... Judy, sorry I got sidetrack with my examples. I do believe that many people fall into the slots I identified above.

    You hear so many times, does rain affect your pain??
    I've never noticed a change based solely on rain and/or snow unless it is something that is repeating itself daily.

    This past Spring and what the calendar said was Summer, we had rain almost every day, weather forecasts predicted showers ever day and it did happen. That didnt bother me physically, but emotionally I was climbing a wall
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • The joints in the spine are synovial joints, meaning they have fluid in them. When there is a change in barometric pressure, it affects the fluid in the joints, causing a change in pressure. This accounts for pain you may feel when the weather changes.

  • from massachusetts and can tell you there is a 72.56% chance here that pain will increase for spineys in september. unfortunately my pain increased substantially >:D<
  • even my pain management doc says it is a known fact that the cold and damp increases pain. i have cervical issues so i always make sure that area is well covered and warm. i have a heating pad on the seat for the computer as well. when the wood stove is burning i lay up with my back facing it. cozy and warm,
  • I have to agree with you. I definitely notice a major change in my pain when the weather gets colder. My muscles tighten up my joints become creeky (and I mean literally, if I sit still I can hear my shoulder creek when I move it hahaha) and everything becomes less willing to move. Its never a fun time but I almost feel as if it puts you to the test to see if you can make it through the pain and still have a smile on your face. :]
  • I am the local weather woman lol I can tell a day or more ahead of time if it will rain, snow, get really cold etc etc. I feel it in my bones, muscles, nerves etc. :|

    My PT says he does not "buy" that weather effects us. :P
  • in the arctic and the sub-arctic. The cold doesn't bother me too much, as long as I dress appropriately. In fact, living there, my arthritis rarely bothered me, it's like living in the desert (which I've spent copious time in as well) but without the extreme heat. You can protect yourself from the cold, but can't escape that heat, lol!! It's the humidity and dampness that gets me. I love the change from summer to autumn, as where I live now, it's so dang humid in the summer, the crisp autumn air is refreshing, as long as it's not damp.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • deltalady said:
    Happy Friday everyone :D -- yeah, sure, I bet a bunch of you are saying right now! :''(

    :? It seems like I've seen a trend this week on the posts for some spikes in pain levels for a lot of people. Lots of misery going around this week. I had to break out my BT pain meds yesterday for the first time in months. My sciatica flared up out of nowhere, my biopsied foot throbbed and my head's clogged up from the ragweed -- YEAH FOR FALL! On the upside, for us football lovers, at least we have something to watch while we lay around in misery.

    I think the spiney world should have a color coded warning system, you know like the ill fated terror alert system -- red, orange, yellow, etc. -- so we can prepare for these little not so delightful pain spikes.

    Please jump in with your thoughts on the part the change in seasons plays on our pain levels. Wish I was a meteorologist so I could expound some intelligent theory about this subject. (LOL!)

    Take care all my spineys -- thinking of you and wishing for pain free days ahead,

    Hey Judy,
    Who needs meterologist when you have a built in barometer. I can tell the weather by the pain and stiffness levels through out my body!!
    If I may, for me the weather makes a HUGE difference, humidity takes a toll, cold takes a toll. When you put them together, well football sounds good to me also!! LOL, my name is Ginger I'm new this this forum site, in fact I just found it tonight! I have two boys who play football so I live outdoors, being that they are young, I don't get as much couch time as my body needs. I just posted a topic on the welcome message board if you would like to find out more about me. I can tell you that I feel so much better to know that I am not alone :)
    I have not had surgery yet like you, but it has been suggested to me for over a year now.
    I'm just very scared about surgery and tend to worry that things will be worse post-operative.
    I'm not sure yet how you can become my buddy, but I think i just figured it out, lol.
    Stay well, warm and dry.
    Ginger S.
  • I am a firm believer in forcast prediction after spine surgery! I cant hardly move when it is going to rain or get cold or both. I am American Indian and my wife teases me that that is why i can tell what the weather is going to do, I had L5S1 spinal fusion surgery that failed to heal right,and some disc degeneration at the middle and lower areas. I wish that none of us had to post these problems cause they really suck, but i am glad i have found other people who can really sympothize.yall take care.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    my joints and especially my arthritis scream! Especially when it's trying to rain and it just takes it's time getting here. It's like, hurry up and get on with it!
    But I live in the mountains in California and the fall is fabulous. I love it! Today is about 74 degrees with a slight fall breeze and a big blue sky and not a cloud to be found!
    Winter however, is a different story with rain and snow.
    Give me spring and fall year round and I'll be a happy camper!
    Good luck, Jim :D
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • :D :D :D :D

    Oh, Jim, sounds like PERFECT weather in California. It's still in the 90's here in Orlando and humid -- if the fall weather doesn't arrive soon the kiddies will be trick or treating in shorts and t-shirts!

    I'm with all of you who posted that when it's going to rain but hasn't started yet you feel like your body is going to blow up -- then when it finall starts to rain, my body starts to ramp down.

    Thanks again for your comments and hope you're all having low pain level days.

  • I try not to buy into it! I feel that giving it emotional substance allows the sub-conscious mind, to create the reality.

    That said, I too notice times when I use meds at increased rate and then at a slower rate. I don't track weather as a factor.

    Cheers -C45
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I unfortunately believe weather changes affect pain levels. I used to think it was just something 'old folks' believed in...maybe it still is and I'm just one of them now? lol. Seriously though have any of you read about seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? I know it's more of a wintertime problem but I think it also applies to cloudy, rainy days. I know I definitely suffer with SAD during the coldest months of the year. I hibernate like a bear and am the complete opposite of my normal. I'd much rather be outside than inside. If I'm stuck inside it gives me more time to dwell on my aches and pains. Hope I didn't get to far off your topic Judy.
    Hope everyone has a good day.
  • I probably should have also ammended my thought a little. I have a co-worker/ aquaintance. He most definitely exhibits a personality change that washes across all of his relationships. It is powerful and something that I believe is not in his control at all!

    I posted from my personal experience with it, and not with an judgemental view!

    We all have differing paths and experiences.

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I didn't find your post judgemental at all. It was your honest opinion, just like mine is. I hope I didn't make you feel like that.

  • Debby - Please - this is not due to your post, I re-read my thoughts and felt that they needed a comment further!

    With your note about "SAD", it triggered a memory and some thoughts that I felt needed to be tossed out!

    Hugs always! C45
  • I just had to vent a bit. Here in the midwest it is HORRENDOUS today and my back, which normally doesn't bother me (my pain is all "sciatic" type pain -- hips, legs and feet) is really aching. AND they are predicting SNOW for Chicago on Sunday. It isn't even Columbus Day yet, and we never really had summer. (We had "summer" for one week in June when my husband and I were in New Mexico. I missed it.)
  • on it though, C45. I do believe that the weather affects pain, I've had chronic knee pain since I was a pre-teen (arthritis) geez, just did the math, over 26 years, now I feel old... :O lol Anyways, growing up (and still to this day), I'd say to my mom "it's going to snow tomorrow" to which she'd reply "don't be silly, the weather isn't forecasting snow" and the next morning we'd wake up to a blanket of white fluffy stuff on the ground... However, we do have pain spikes during stabilized weather as well, how do we explain that? Is it just a sub-conscious reaction, maybe preparing us for inclement weather, or is it the barometric pressure changes. I still tend to believe it's the latter, as it's something I've experienced for so long, but it sure makes you think, doesn't it?
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • It definitely has to do with the barometric pressure. The joints in the back, and your knees are synnovial joints. When the barometer falls, the synnovial fluid actually thickens, so its ability to lubricate is lessened. Increased friction between the moving parts may cause inflammation and pain, or make it worse.

    Also, the various bones, ligaments, tendons, etc. have different densities and expand and contract at different rates when there is a rise or fall in the temperature. This can be enough to trigger pain.

    So there are real reasons why we are subject to the whims of the weather.

    I guess I should qualify my comments by saying the above are theories and not actually scientifically proven facts. Since pain is subjective, it is difficult for researchers to qualify the exact relationship between weather and joint, back and neck pain.
  • My massage therapist mentioned one day that she always drives with her car seat heater turned on. I tried it (it was during the summer, so sounded kind of crazy at the time) and I must say, it helps my back when I am driving or riding. It works just like a heating pad and keeps my muscles from contracting and getting tight or stiff.

    You might want to try it on a regular basis.
  • Was just browsing looking for a article on something else and came across this article on spine-health. The article was just published so many of you may not see it yet.


    Just thought I would share this with everyone.
  • My Auntie who has Multiple Sclerosis swears that heat or hot weather makes her MS worse, not in terms of pain, but how far the paralysis travels up her body.

    She's 87, so asked me to check it on the internet which I did. It seems she's not the only one who has noticed this and many others find that heat/hot weather/hot baths and showers, all make their MS worse.

    I'm sure this applies to other diseases; bone problems are known to respond adversely to humidity and cold weather.

    So yes, you're right. Someone should produce a pain chart which could accompany the pollen count!

    Bye, Val
  • It has turned much colder here in the mountains and snow is in the forcast(if they have not changed it)

    I am in absolute AGONY!!! My pain meds help very little. My feet and legs pound and throb with pain. My shoulder is throbbing also!! I have to comb my hair with my left hand. I can't raise my right hand to my face.I am creeping around like I am 150!! :&

    The only thing that has changed to cause this spike in my pain is the weather!!
    It looks like a looooong winter if this pain spike continues!!
    Thanks for posting this Judy and giving me another chance to vent.
    Good luck everyone
    Patsy W
  • I have to chime in here, I agree weather can and does affect pain levels. The storms affect my migraine, HUGE, and the damp cool temps affect my back, arthritis, joints etc.
    I don't understand why legitimate pain patients are the ones made to suffer while it would at least appear that life is made hard on us but not on the scums that abuse the very drugs we need to have some quality of life. You know, I watch programs on tv, I watch Invervetion and this lady was a pain patient and she giving out not only her pain meds but her moms pain meds to her daughter because her daughter was an addict! If anyone knew beter this lady did, but its people like her that is making it SO very hard for people like us to get what we need.
    The pharmacy I go to, now its not so bad because they know me, but before, instead of looking to see if they had my rx, they would just tell me, nope don't have it in stock. I was lucky, one of the techs there knew me from another pharmacy and knew I had to switch because this pharmacy is the only one that the meds I needed and/or could order them and she told the pharmacist it was okay! It should not come down to this, in some ways I was relieved and in another way I was ticked off. If my doctor writes a script and they have the quanity there, fill the script!! Its not the pharmacists job to screen me, unless of course there is an OBVIOUS problem which of course there was not. I fill my meds only when I am suppose to, never early by the rules,alway.
    I fear what the chronic pain patients life is going to be like with all the new laws that keep coming up, its just not fair.
  • I don't care what science says, I KNOW that weather can have an impact on pain. There has been an incredible amount of rain here the last few months and between the sunless days and high humidity I have never hurt so much. My fibromyalgia is much worse during the coldest days of winter. If we have a warm winter I may barely feel any symptoms and summers are often pain free (as far as the fibro goes).

    This sounds like a good idea for a study. You would think that a government interested in studying the gas emissions of cows might find the weather/pain relationship worthy.
  • I live in the UK and many years ago, we moved to live in Boulder, Co for 12 months. During this period, every single day within the hour leading up to 2pm, I got this utterly appalling headache which was more like a migraine. It always started behind my eyes and spread; the pain was so bad, it usually made me feel sick as a dog.

    Then bang on 2pm, there would be this massive storm, a rush of wind and unbelievable rain, which always lasted less than half an hour. As soon as it was over, my headache totally vanished and I felt fine again!

    I could time all of this by 'I love Lucy' which I watched every day (sorry, but I'm British!). Anyway, as soon as we returned to the UK, it stopped.

    I know this is way off topic, but it supports the hypothesis that weather affects bodily functions.

    Apparently the weather has been blamed for all types of bodily ailments since 400BC and some weather stations show charts of health alongside weather-charts (see article below). In Germany, this has become standard practice!


  • Yesterday afternoon I started to ache a lot and my movement became more limited - pain, pressure - by 7pm it was awful and the meds were not helping. When I woke at 3am it was raining. Human Barometer. Similar experience the week before. Putting things together the past couple of months - it seems just before and during rain there is a spike in the pain. In the summer, in a week of rain, I ended up hospitalized through the ER for severe pain. I did not know there was rain coming last night - thought we had a clear week - but my body knew.
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