For those suffering with back pain, the summertime can be difficult to handle – for multiple reasons. One aspect is straightforward: the increase in temperature and humidity. The other element is activities that tend to occur during summer that can be particularly taxing on the body.
For conditions such as back pain, summer heat is challenging
The increase in heat and humidity that occurs during the summer can be especially difficult for those who have chronic pain. That’s partially because people with pain conditions aren’t able to regulate their bodies properly when the amount of temperature or humidity changes dramatically. Another factor that can exacerbate inflammation and pain is fluctuations in the amount of joint lubricant that accompanies rises in heat and moisture.
A review of nine studies on the connection between rheumatoid arthritis and weather found that people diagnosed with the disease reported higher pain ratings during the hot summer months. Other conditions are impacted by excessive hotness and wetness because these factors make the ozone rise in the climate, leading to an increase in symptoms for those with chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and fibromyalgia.
Luckily, a couple of tactics can be effective to curb your symptoms, notes Carrie DeVries of Spine-health. “Take advantage of indoor air-conditioning to cut humidity levels,” she says, and “[u]se ice therapy to soothe and decrease inflammation to painful areas.”
Summer activities that can be problematic
When you have back pain, summer heat is just one of your worries during the hottest months. Here are a few other triggers:
- Vacations – Sitting for prolonged lengths of time is difficult on the back and neck. Be sure to stretch frequently, and stay hydrated.
- Sports events – Bleachers and stadium seats can be uncomfortable. Try bringing a seat cushion or even your own chair, so that you can properly support your lower back.
- Amusement parks – You may have to do quite a bit of walking and standing in line for rides. Use back and leg stretches, and take breaks to sit.
- Gardening – Like snow shoveling in winter, gardening in summer can also increase back pain. “The best ways to avoid this kind of pain are to take breaks so you are not hunched over for too long,” says DeVries, “to practice proper lifting techniques, and to stretch before going out to garden.”
- Sleep – Being out and active can make it difficult to sleep as consistently as you do during the rest of the year. Be careful to continue going to sleep at the same time each night and to shut off your electronic devices a couple hours prior to bedtime.
Expertise to keep back pain at bay
Are you experiencing back pain this summer that is decreasing your quality of life? At Pain Stop North Phoenix, we are comprised of multiple medical disciplines, allowing us to provide comprehensive pain treatment programs for quick pain relief and long-term results. Learn about our responsible approach.