Colorado’s Anti “Puffing” Law Impacts People Living with Chronic Pain (And Other Thoughts I Should Be Forgiven For)

Carie ShermanBy Carie Sherman

Holy change in weather, batman!

I’ve been hurting so badly and had no idea why, until my mom reminded me that Grandpa Harold always said he knew when the weather was changing because he felt it in his bones.

And then there’s my BFF, who doesn’t have an autoimmune condition yet complains of pain and weakness in her bum knee. Poor girl. Her bum knee is the result of having an airhead for a “spotter” who let her fall and tear her ACL during cheerleading practice. In my defense, I had a Tootsie Pop in my hand. Who knows what might have happened if I’d been a good spotter? Maybe she’d have had to cut a lollipop out of her hair? Or suffered a puncture wound from that cardboard-stick thingy?

Another friend posted on Facebook about her Raynaud’s and not being able to feel her toes. And yesterday I met a woman I just met who was having trouble picking something up.

“My hands aren’t working,” she said. Mine weren’t either.

So I broke my vow and googled my medical symptoms. Turns out there are plenty of studies that show weather, particularly changes in barometric pressure, can result in an increase in pain for people with inflammation.

Here are a few tips that are supposed to help us deal:

  • Some people need to increase their pain meds, according to David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center.
  • The National Institutes of Health recommend staying warm by wearing layers, keeping your home heated and warming up your car. (Pretty sure it’s illegal to warm up your car here in Colorado.)
  • Try a heating pad or an electric blanket.
  • Warm your clothes in the dryer before wearing. Yet another reason why it makes sense to install the washer/dryer near your bedroom.
  • Heat helps pain but not swelling. Dr. Borenstein suggested wearing Spandex gloves at night to keep fluid out of your hands to prevent swelling.
  • Keep moving, and “warm up” before heading outside.
  • Improve your mood. (Note: I am working on a post for next week about this very topic — and issuing a challenge that we can do together! It takes less than 5 minutes for 14 days and it’s guaranteed. Stay tuned!)
  • Realize the increase in pain is temporary. Glad I saw this today–I was about 30 seconds away from sending you all an Evite to a Woe Is Me party.

Who knew weather had such an impact?

Now, with my vow already broken today, I’m going to google Injury + Tootsie Pops. Maybe once my best friend knows the “facts,” she’ll finally see that ACL surgery at age 15 was a small price to pay to avoid having an eye poked out by candy-on-a-stick.