a spine with symbols of pain on it with cold weather on the right and warm weather on the left

Managing Seasonal Joint Pain for a More Fulfilling Life

There was a time when the changing seasons used to bring me joy, but now it seems to give me joint pain mostly. I used to think it was "all in my head," but research says otherwise. According to Schultz et al. (2020), some people experience moderate pain due to weather changes.1

The pain is likely far from moderate for people with ankylosing apondylitis (AS), who already experience persistent joint pain and stiffness. As a result, this can make it difficult for people with AS to perform daily activities, significantly impacting their quality of life.

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From fatigue to decreased mobility, AS can make it increasingly difficult to participate in social and recreational activities. Not being able to engage in the activities you want to can lead to frustration, anxiety, and even depression if the symptoms are severe or difficult to manage.

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While we often talk about how AS impacts physical health, we sometimes overlook its effects on our mental health. When you cannot attend events due to fatigue or engage in activities because of decreased mobility, it can impact how you see yourself. The mental impacts can make living with AS increasingly difficult.

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Yes, being angry about that is perfectly normal

Even though I like to think of myself as pretty positive, I never want to act as if we need just to be grateful. It's human to experience all the waves of emotions. The joy when you wake up without pain and the anger when you do. The excitement when you can move freely and the frustration when you're not.

What I've learned through my journey with managing my pain is understanding there will be times when things don't go as planned. Those are the times I allow myself to slow down, rest, and say no because no is a complete sentence that requires zero explanation.

More importantly, saying no to what doesn't work for you allows you to start saying yes to what does

For now, saying yes for me has resulted in better pain management techniques. In doing so, I've improved my symptoms and maintained a more fulfilling life. While medications and physical therapy can effectively manage pain and inflammation, natural techniques can also be used with conventional treatments to provide additional relief.

Here are a few techniques that have worked for me:

  • Yoga:Yoga can help improve flexibility, reduce stress, and promote relaxation, all of which can help manage pain and improve overall well-being.
  • Meditation: Meditation can also help reduce stress, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Heat or cold therapy: Applying heat or cold therapy to the affected joints can provide relief.
  • Massage therapy: Massages are a great way to relieve tension and improve circulation.

Speaking with your healthcare provider before trying new natural techniques is always essential. By incorporating natural techniques into a comprehensive treatment plan, people with AS can improve their pain management and overall quality of life.

Despite the challenges, we can overcome the obstacles

Living with AS can be challenging, but with proper management and treatment, people with AS can lead full lives. Whether it's a persistent pain in your lower back or stiffness in your hips, I hope the techniques I share can provide temporary relief as the season changes. And your healthcare provider can assist with making sure that seasonal changes don't keep you down yearlong.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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