Can Seasonal Allergies Affect Chronic Pain?
Springtime is the start of flowers blooming, sunny weather, and unfortunately for many, seasonal allergies! And while you may think of seasonal allergies simply as itchy eyes or a runny nose, allergens in the air can actually affect so much more–like muscle and joint pain! If you’ve ever noticed that your chronic pain levels are worse in the spring and summertime, you’re not crazy. In fact, seasonal allergies can have a bigger effect on muscle and joint pain than you may realize!
How do seasonal allergies affect chronic pain?
For millions of people around the world, the start of the spring season brings sneezing, a scratchy throat, itchy nose, and so much more. Seasonal allergies occur when your body overreacts to the pollen in your environment. This means that when pollen is in the air and makes its way up your nose, your body thinks that it’s a foregin intruder and attacks accordingly.
But what does this mean for chronic pain/muscle aches? Well, you may notice your pain levels are worse when your seasonal allergies are at their peak for a few reasons. When you’re suffering from allergies, your body is subjected to extra stress which can make your chronic pain levels increase. Because your immune system is trying to fight off the pollen, this can in turn cause inflammation of the joints which leads to further pain. Additionally, if you’re constantly sneezing or coughing, you’re making sudden movements which can cause neck and back pain as well as headaches.
On top of all of that, many regular allergy symptoms contribute to feelings of increased pain. Many people report that they feel tired and fatigued which are actually common triggers for chronic aches. Brain fog and loss of focus are two other commonly reported mental symptoms of allergies which can result in having a difficult time dealing with your pain levels.
Aside from allergies, as the seasons change, it’s normal to notice a difference in chronic pain levels. This is due to fluctuating humidity levels, temperature, and barometric pressure. You can read more about the link between seasonal changes and chronic pain on our blog here.
How to relieve chronic pain due to allergens
Luckily, seasonal allergies don’t have to be added to your growing list of chronic pain issues as they are quite easy to treat!
Track pollen levels: First and foremost, it’s important to figure out what type of pollen your body reacts to the most. Typically, people are most allergic to ragweed pollen in the fall and tree/grass pollen in the spring and summertime. Some people are only allergic to some types of pollen and others are allergic to more than one. If you’re able to find out what season your symptoms are their worst, you will be able to easily treat them. Once you’ve pinpointed the pollen of concern, you can track the pollen levels in your area with a simple Google search. When you see that pollen levels are high, be extra cautious about your plans for the day and how you intend to combat your symptoms.
Take a daily allergy medication: Taking allergy medicine consistently (the key word here is consistently, otherwise you won’t see the effects) is the key to controlling body aches during the spring and fall time. To understand how allergy medicine works, you first need to understand what happens in your body when it comes in contact with pollen. When your body is exposed to pollen, it releases a chemical called histamine which travels through your blood and attaches onto the histamine receptors of your cells. This attachment actually causes the cells to swell up which in turn, results in inflammation. Allergy medicine (also known as antihistamine) works by blocking the histamine from ever affecting those cells in the first place which means no inflammation! Make sure to take your allergy medication first thing in the morning and not when you’re already experiencing allergies. This is because allergy medicine is preventive and won’t work if the histamine has already attached to your cells.
Shower off after being outside: When you go outside, pollen will stick to your clothes and skin like a magnet meaning you will feel the symptoms of allergies long after you head inside. To avoid this, immediately take off your clothes and take a quick shower. This will remove any pollen from your body so you don’t have to worry about it as much when you’re in your home.
Wash clothing and bedding often: Pollen is incredibly small which means it’s hard to avoid it getting into your home. To lessen the amount of pollen inside, make sure to wash both your clothing and bedding frequently.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet: It’s important to consider your diet all year-round if you suffer from chronic pain, but it’s even more important during allergy season. Processed foods, sugar, alcohol, fried foods, and saturated fats can all contribute to the inflammation in your body. While it’s okay to indulge every now and again, try adding anti-inflammatory foods more regularly into your diet such as nuts, leafy greens, olive oil, fruits, fatty fish, tomatoes, and more. These foods are known to lessen the chance of inflammation which can in turn help reduce pain levels.
Use pain relieving patches: Topical pain relieving patches are a great product to have in your closet because they are incredibly easy to apply and can be worn throughout the day–even if you’re going to be outside and exposed to pollen! In tandem with the other allergy remedies, the SINSINPAS Capsaicin Hot Pain Relieving Patches can lessen the feeling of muscle and joint aches/pains that can arise from seasonal allergies. These patches utilize all-natural capsaicin, which is the primary compound in the chili pepper. This unique ingredient is known to reduce pain and is safe to use and non-addictive. The Capsaicin Hot Patches are fragrance-free and easy to apply on your back, shoulders, and more. They’re made with flexible material so they can be applied and worn throughout the day, no matter what you have planned!