’Tis the season! Whether you’re gearing up to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the coming New Year, there will likely be a number of activities to keep you busy through the year’s end, including decorating, shopping, cooking, and spending time with family, whether virtual or in-person. However, for people living with chronic pain, this season also brings anxiety and trepidation. The mere thought of adding these holiday activities to your daily routine can be incredibly daunting when you know how challenging it can be just to perform everyday tasks and functions.
Fortunately, pain doesn’t have to put a damper on your holiday season. In this brief article, we’ll explain how winter holidays can affect your pain and outline just a few key tips on how you can reduce your risk of having a pain flare and make it through the holidays with ease with the help of a pain management doctor in Orlando like Neil Patel, M.D.
The Connection Between Holidays and Chronic Pain
As someone with chronic pain, you know that many factors can cause your pain to worsen, such as leading a sedentary lifestyle, getting too stressed out, and quitting your pain medication cold turkey. However, did you know that a change in the weather may cause your chronic pain to act up as well? For example, changes in temperature, moisture, or pressure during the winter season can cause you to experience an uptick in stiffness and aches, a limited range of motion, and, you guessed it, a worsening of your chronic pain.
If that alone wasn’t enough, the days also get shorter as the winter season marches on due to the Earth’s tilt. This means less time to exercise outside and potentially intensified depression, particularly if you are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Finally, you’ll also be eating and drinking things during the holidays that you normally don’t consume, such as alcohol, dairy products, and processed, packaged foods — all of which can cause inflammation and magnify your chronic pain.
Tips to Manage Your Chronic Pain
Getting well-deserved time off work for the holidays goes a long way towards refreshing our bodies and minds. However, when you live with chronic pain, even something as simple as scouring for a good gift in the mall or rushing to finish Christmas dinner before a family member arrives can be a pain trigger. If you’re looking for ways to ensure that your upcoming break is flare-up-free, you’ll want to pay close attention to the following tips:
- Plan your activities well in advance to avoid overexerting yourself
- Eliminate certain activities from your to-do list to lighten the load
- Drink plenty of water and get sufficient hours of sleep
- Enlist the help of others to prepare food, decorate, shop, or perform other activities
- Schedule times in your day to rest, relax, and recover
- Maintain your normal exercise routine, when possible
Get in Touch With a Pain Management Doctor
Last but not least, the most important thing you can do this holiday season to preserve your health and appropriately manage your chronic pain is get in contact with one of the pain management doctors near me, like Dr. Patel. Only a qualified medical professional with years of experience in the subspecialty of pain management is qualified to accurately diagnose and treat your pain, and there’s never a better time than when your pain is at its worst to get to the root of your chronic pain and work on reducing your symptoms.