There’s no doubt that 2020 will go down in the record books as a wild, weird, and sometimes painful year. And, even though catapulting into 2021 ASAP seems like universally a good thing, for millions, it’s far from it. That’s because many people who have fibromyalgia and chronic pain describe ‘flare-ups’ or periods of worsened and widespread pain during the cold months. Patients describe joint pain and muscle aches, and burning or tingling in different parts of the body. Others dealing with long-term pain may be suffering from certain cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, or more.
Out of whack
What do we know about fibromyalgia? Doctors tell us that fibromyalgia is essentially a collection of symptoms that sadly affects an estimated 4 million people. Symptoms can include muscle, tendon, and ligament pain and fatigue. Still, others experience emotional and mental stress and problems with memory and concentration. Why does the cold weather make these conditions worse? It’s not entirely clear, but scientists tell us that colder temperatures can throw our central nervous system out of whack. Some people think that our nervous system has a hypersensitivity to cold and that our body misinterprets colder temps as a nerve signal for pain.
It’s getting brighter every day
However, the good news is, colder weather doesn’t have to mean more pain. In addition to three FDA-approved drugs for treating fibromyalgia, several natural remedies can make managing symptoms easier. Let’s explore some of these treatments further.
- Exercise, stress-reduction techniques, and better sleep – This may seem like a laundry list of New Year’s resolutions. Still, the fact is that doctors recommend exercise, relaxation, and healthy rest as tools for managing and reducing these painful conditions. Many patients also report that aerobic exercise and stretching exercises can combat pain and manage flare-ups. For many patients, yoga is an excellent tool for improving the body’s daily function, elevating mood, and relieving pain. Another great thing about yoga is that even when winter weather makes getting to an in-person class tricky, it’s simple to poses at home. Medical News Today outlines four of the best yoga moves for managing arthritic conditions and treating pain.
Others find relief by following stress management practices, such as meditation. Therapeutic massage and acupuncture are also useful. What works for one person may not work for another, so keep trying different techniques! Practicing healthy sleep habits – maintaining a consistent bedtime, turning off electronics, limiting caffeine – can also improve a person’s sleep quality. Getting better sleep has a compound effect on relieving stress and managing how the body deals with pain.
- Consider medical marijuana – For those of us in Ohio, medical marijuana is another natural option for treating fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. Many patients use it as part of their pain management strategy. Others rely on certified cannabis benefits such as promoting relaxation, easing anxiety, and achieving healthy sleep. Many doctors recommend MM as a treatment because cannabinoids within MM work alongside our body’s Endocannabinoids system (ECS ) to promote biological balance. Many also believe cannabinoids can improve the function of nearly every system throughout our bodies! When these systems are running correctly, it promotes physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
- CBD may help too – While research continues into CBD, many users find that the all-natural compound helps diminish pain in muscles and joints. Many studies show CBD can inhibit inflammation, and it may reduce pain from malfunctioning nerves, a common ailment for people living with fibromyalgia. Salves, lotions, and other topicals massaged into the skin can treat joint discomfort as a preventative measure during the winter months when the pain spikes. Other CBD fans also talk about using CBD-infused products in the form of edibles, patches, tinctures, and topicals to treat depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Tools in your toolbox
If the winter months have you shaking in your boots, now’s the time to make a plan to feel better! At Releaf Health Clinic, we’re more than happy to help. We offer fast, convenient telemedicine appointments to get you started on qualifying for a medical marijuana card. We also offer a fully-stocked online store with premium, all-natural CBD products to help treat your pain every day and during every season. Many of our patients use one or both approaches for maximum relief. Don’t wait! You can also go from feeling anxious, depressed, and isolated from living with chronic pain to feeling more in control and experiencing everything life has to offer. Go ahead, get your winter on!