Every season has a downside. Winter, spring, summer, and fall each bring their own unique variety of aches, pains, grunt work, chores, and things we’d rather live without. With seasonal change always just around the corner, knowing what to expect can help combat the blah. But if your pain is increasing, or becoming constant, speak to a doctor about whether outpatient surgery at Pacific Surgical Center could bring relief.
One of the most common seasonal issues is allergies. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that “More than 50 million Americans (1 in 6) experience all types of allergies, including indoor/outdoor allergies, food, and drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies. The number of people who have allergies continues to increase across all ages, sex, and racial groups.”
And there’s not much that can be done to prevent them. Their study also shows that “Most allergies are inherited, which means they are passed on to children by their parents. People inherit a tendency to be allergic, although not to any specific allergen. If your child develops an allergy, it is very likely that you or your partner has allergies.”
While most allergies are just an annoyance of sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes, they almost all impact the body on a larger scale. When added to the back pain, for example, that most of us feel as we age discomfort can snowball.
Doctors have shown that “Seasonal allergies put extra stress on the body which can make chronic pain symptoms feel more intense. It can also affect your immune system—and in turn—cause inflammation in your joints leading to pain. Allergies are a big producer of body aches. Constant coughing and sneezing lead to headaches, neck, and back pain. Anyone already dealing with chronic pain may find this very overwhelming!”
Other ways allergies stress the body is by causing fatigue. When we’re tired (and a little muzzy-headed from antihistamines) pain can feel more prevalent and harder to ignore. Seasonal weather shifts also cause old injuries to flare up meaning knees, shoulders, and other joints are achy, irritated, and sore.
For people with food allergies, especially in conjunction with arthritis, joint pain is a common reaction. When people eat one of their trigger foods, explain doctors, it causes inflammation. “Food-allergic patients often suffer from joint and muscle pain of the back, chest, arms, abdomen, back of the neck and legs…Allergens can trigger the immune system to produce inflammation, leading to joint pain in different areas of the body. This explains why patients with arthritis feel severe joint pain after they eat particular foods they’re allergic to.”
But it can be difficult to track down the true cause. “Rarely do individuals link joint pain with allergies,” admit researchers. “However, when allergies bring on inflammation, the joint pain that follows is inevitable. The increased inflammation seasonal allergies bring on is due to your antibodies fighting the foreign allergens that cause the allergy. Your throat, nose, and eyes experience inflammation as your immune system fights to ward off the allergens. Your body becomes exhausted from the pressure exerted on your immune system, and this could be what’s causing your joint pain.”
If allergies are behind some of your seasonal issues, there are easy steps you can take to minimize their impact. Take a shower after time spent outdoors, monitor pollen counts and factors like nearby wildfire smoke, wash all clothes and bedding frequently, and wear your sunglasses and a mask when you venture out. There are also plenty of over-the-counter medicines, humidifiers, and home air filters to combat seasonal allergies.
For food allergies, work with your doctor to determine triggers. Sometimes this is done through elimination tests which remove factors from your diet until the cause is discovered. Other ways are through the skin and blood testing at the doctor’s office. For both, it may be smart to start a food diary and track your meals.
Every season has its ups and downs. But don’t let allergies or joint pain keep you from enjoying the best it has to offer. If your mobility and balance are impacted, or you’re taking ibuprofen with every meal, it’s time to speak to your care team. At Pacific Surgical Center, their staff will work with your doctors and come up with a plan tailored to you. Transparency pricing means no whiplash from sticker shock and their one-stop-shop approach minimizes pre- and post-operative trips around town. When you’re ready for a change of season, call PSC at 360.442.7900 today.