Many of us will start the day exploring a weather app, listening to the radio, or watching the news to gather our analysis of the weather for the day. Once we have obtained this information, we then will tailor our outfits to coincide with the forecast. Will we need an umbrella, a light jacket, etc.? The before mentioned scenario is really for those without chronic knee pain. If you were to poll anyone with chronic knee pain they would share that their joints are the single indicator of their weather forecast for the day. In this article, we’d like to assist those who experience chronic knee pain and explore some of the causes of this pain as well as the contributing environmental factors. In essense, what you can do to take control and “beat the heat” to avoid chronic pain.
Most of us are aware of the general causes of knee pain with these various medical conditions or situational traumas:
- chondromalacia patella
- Baker’s cyst
- rheumatoid arthritis
Now that the summer’s rays are upon us, we will notice the temperatures, humidity, and barometric pressures changing; all playing a key role in chronic knee pain. Let’s now look at 3 areas that can contribute to this situation and ways in which you as the patient can stay proactive with your condition. Denise Stern, freelance writer for www.livestrong.com, shares how barometric pressure, dehydration and temperature variations that can contribute to joint pain:
Barometric pressure often causes levels of fluids in the body to fluctuate. According to The Weather Channel, many humans suffer from everything from headaches to joint pain when barometric pressure rises. Joint pain is caused by a triggering of neuroreceptors in nerve endings that are sensitive to such change, according to Dr. John Parenti of the Orthopedics Department of the Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania.
Studies have determined a direct link between humidity and dehydration in the body. High humidity levels in the air thicken the blood, which increases pressure in the blood vessels and requires more effort by the heart to pump blood throughout the body. According to “Nutrition Info: Dangers of Chronic Dehydration,” written by Albert Grazia, M.S., N.D., dehydration causes joint pain because joint cartilage contains large amounts of water. Hot and humid environments cause excess sweating and loss of body fluid.
Temperature variations have long been believed to be a trigger for joint pain in many individuals with arthritis or other bone and joint injuries. The Rothman Institute of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital stated that changes in weather, such as warm and dry to damp and cold also triggered baroreceptors in joints that caused increased sensation of joint pain in individuals of all ages. Humid weather especially causes already sensitive or inflamed tissues to expand, increasing pain for arthritis sufferers.
Knowing how these elements affect many of our patients at MPR, the next step is to implement strategies to stay a step ahead of summer knee pain:
Stay indoors: If the day is a hot one and it is avoidable, stay indoors. If you do have to venture out, be sure to break up your day with some indoor downtime.
Adjust your air conditioning or invest in one: Keep your home cool and keep humidity down.
Eat and drink adequately: Stay hydrated and try to avoid foods that are sugary in nature.
Dress appropriately: Wear loose clothing, light colors, and natural fibers.
Cooling elements: Find anything that is cooling to you and your skin. Whether it be ice or a cooling gel find what works for you.
We have identified what knee pain is, some common causes from an environmental perspective, as well as ways to alter your behavior to become proactive with the pain. Of course given these strategies, pain may still be unavoidable. At MPR we have a comprehensive knee treatment program. We use x-ray analysis as well as video fluoroscopy which allows the doctor to pinpoint problem areas with extreme accuracy. A viscosupplement is then injected and the healing process begins. Viscosupplementaion bonds with naturally occurring joint fluid to create a lubricating and cushioning layer. It also reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling of the joint. Most patients compare the treatment to getting a shot at the doctor’s office and report little pain or discomfort. In addition to the viscosupplementaion treatment we utilize Class IV Laser therapy and rehabilitation. Laser Therapy uses near-infrared light to stimulate healing creating a decrease in inflammation and an increase in oxygenated blood flow. MPR is a multidisciplinary facility offering chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy and weight loss to help you get you back to what you enjoy doing! So grab that surfboard, tennis racquet, or golf club and be mindful of the summer elements and keep our number handy just in case (732) 345-1377. We have offices conveniently located in Red Bank and Wall Township.