If you go to bed soon after eating the kind of large meal that quickly breaks down into sugar, the headache you wake up with probably isn’t monsoon-related.
But if you notice that during monsoon season – defined as between June 15 and Sept. 30 since 2008 – there’s a marked connection between your headaches and/or joint pain increasing when those severe storms are about to occur, there quite possibly is a link.
Monsoon season doesn’t usher in host of new patients, but we definitely note a tendency to see more of our existing patients at this time of year.
So What’s the Connection Between a Monsoon and Pain?
The leading theory is that pain can be connected to the quickly shifting change in pressure that is a characteristic of monsoon.
Obviously, healthy joints won’t feel anything. But increasing pressure on any joint that has sustained an injury or is arthritic can prompt a pain response. There can be an inherent weakness in a joint that was injured a long time ago, or depending on the trauma, a younger person can feel pain, too.
Many scientists agree there is a link between changes in atmospheric pressure – the actual weight of the air – and joint pain. WebMD likens connective tissue to a balloon that high pressure keeps from expanding. Before storms, pressure drops. Now those tissues have more wiggle room, and their expansion puts more pressure on joints. So even though the Phoenix sky is beguilingly blue, the increased knee pain could indicate the skies will be changing quickly.
Not only does that shift in pressure impact joints, but headaches – that nasty pounding – and migraines – that intense stabbing pain that is often accompanied by light sensitivity and nausea, making one want to crawl into a cave – are particularly susceptible to those influences.
And there are other headache-weather pressure theories that WebMD indicates revolve around blood vessel expansion or contraction – and even a basic survival mechanism that has been passed genetically through the centuries. If a caveman suddenly got a pre-monsoon migraine, some argue he’d be more likely to seek a safe place to rest his aching head – and avoid the potentially life-threatening wrath of the storm.
Alas, as soon as the storm passes, the pain probably won’t immediately subside because the body’s response has been activated – so an interventional pain procedure might be required. Plus, monsoon is a season, meaning those dramatic shifts in pressure are ongoing during the course of months.
Today, the Search is for Chronic Pain Relief, Not Shelter
Freedom from pain is possible:
- At Pain Stop – North Phoenix, our specialty is avoiding narcotics. Treatment includes a range of options that stop just before surgery, such as physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, and medical treatments such as injections, all the way up to procedures performed by board-certified pain physicians, such as epidurals.
- A prescription pain cream – which can offer joint pain relief – is a much safer option than aggressive medications.
- Trigger point injection followed by trigger point massage therapy is a common approach this time of year that’s beneficial for joints as well as headaches. The massage helps to better disburse the injected medication for improved results – and the patient has the benefit of leaving after the massage, not the needle.
What else can you do?
- Pay attention to the calendar and make a mental note to up your game if you’ve determined your pain increases during monsoon.
- Follow recommendations to do stretches at home or get up and walk for five minutes every hour if you’re at a desk. Stand while you’re on the phone. Address that mild pain as your doctor has advised with either ice or heat.
- Do your best to keep your body functioning at peak performance. Stay hydrated – but be aware that over-hydration can be dangerous, too. Exercise at the levels you know are safe for you; consult with your physician to learn how much is too much for you. Eat nutritiously, including breakfast, and a mix of all food groups.
- No one lives a perfect life, and sometimes problems are ignored and exacerbate over time. But there are safe, effective chronic pain relief options out there at Pain Stop-North Phoenix – even if it’s not monsoon season.