In our last blog, we discussed the connection between stress and joint pain, but have you ever wondered why your pain level fluctuates a great deal in regard to the same injury or disease whether you are stressed or not? Here we will discuss some of the factors that you may not know affect your day-to-day pain level and, therefore, your mobility and ability to function.
If you suffer chronic pain in your back, where small facet joints hinge the vertebrae of your spine, or in the larger joints of your shoulders, hips, or limbs, you may notice that its severity has gotten worse lately or that on certain days you inexplicably experience relief. Let’s look at some external and lifestyle reasons your pain may ebb and flow.
The Doctors at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Can Help
If you are plagued by chronic joint pain, you need not endure it in the belief that nothing can be done to alleviate it. Whether you have osteoarthritis due to aging, are suffering ongoing pain from a previous injury, or have a disease condition that inflames your joints, Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine can help. Contact us soon to find out how our traditional and complementary treatments can provide you with significant pain relief and restored function, without surgery, regardless of the effects of the following factors:
You may think it is an old wives’ tale that joint pain is affected by weather, but it is a scientific fact. There are several ways in which the weather can impact your level of discomfort:
- Drops in atmospheric pressure, as those prior to a storm, cause muscle as well as cartilage and ligamentous tissues to expand, putting increased pressure on nerves that control pain signals. The damaged cartilage of arthritis exposes nerves within your joints, making them even more sensitive.
- Low temperatures increase the thickness of synovial fluid, the fluid that lubricates the joints, resulting in increased joint stiffness and pain. Also, when the temperature drops, the body automatically conserves heat by sending more blood to the heart and lungs. This reduces blood flow to the limbs, often resulting in increased pain and stiffness. Moreover, when the weather is cold and damp, people tend to stay indoors and inactivity can make joint pain worse.
Lack of Exercise
When you’re experiencing joint pain that increases with movement, it is tempting to remain as inactive as possible, but inactivity only weakens the muscles supporting your joint, perpetuating the pain cycle. Exercising to strengthen your muscles is extremely beneficial. We frequently prescribe a course of customized physical therapy for our patients to help lessen their pain and increase their strength and range of motion.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Many of our patients are unaware that a vitamin D deficiency may be a cause of joint pain. Such a deficiency can be easily measured with a simple blood test. While as little as 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight should provide sufficient vitamin D, if your body is low on this significant substance, you should make sure to eat a diet that includes fatty fish, mushrooms, and egg yolks, and/or take a vitamin D supplement.
Food, seasonal, and environmental allergies all cause inflammation that can make joint pain worse. In addition, when your body is overwhelmed by the task of keeping the allergy enemy at bay, it is less focused on healing your joints. Avoiding allergens when possible, taking antihistamines to lessen symptoms, and/or getting allergy injections to bolster your body’s tolerance — alone or in combination — may help reduce joint inflammation and its resulting pain.
While you know that smoking is harmful to the lungs and heart, you may not be aware that it can also exacerbate joint pain by interfering with circulation. By negatively affecting the body’s ability to oxygenate and bring nutrients to the muscles that protect your joints, smoking inhibits healing.
Having a BMI (body mass index) of over 30 is dangerous to your health in many ways. Among the other problems obesity causes, it is often a major contributor to joint pain. Carrying around a great deal of extra weight puts a heavy load on the joints in your lower body. Obesity not only worsens existing joint pain; it may be a cause of premature arthritis.
Too Much Alcohol
Although you may think that you are taking “a cold one” to slake your thirst, alcohol actually dehydrates your ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Because your joints depend on fluids to function, dehydration can result in additional pain.
There is no question that some individuals have a much greater tolerance for pain than others, but regardless of your pain threshold, your mental state, as noted in our last blog, can have a major effect on how you experience pain. Multiple studies have shown that not only general stress, but depression, can have a sizable impact on the way you experience pain and how well you are able to cope with it. Studies have shown that depression is also associated with inflammation.
Contact Us Now — Let Us Help You Take Control of Your Pain
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we are fully committed to providing you with nonsurgical treatment or a combination of treatments that will lessen or erase your pain and let you resume normal activities. We have a practical, holistic approach and our doctors are