The Challenges of Living With Chronic Pain During Winter

Chronic pain bites. It can eat away at you body and mind, if you let it. When your pain relief is extremely limited for various reasons, it can become a living hell. Add cold weather to the mix and loneliness to the mix and it can be disastrous.

As the weather gets colder, pain levels increase. Bodies burn through what pain relief is available at a higher rate as they try to keep you warm. Exhaustion sets in quicker. Both of these cause depression and anxiety to worsen, as can the shorter days and longer nights. It’s at this time of year I wish I could hibernate.

In my little corner of the world it’s 2°C or 36°F as I write this and it’s still November. Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21st. It will only get colder. Before the fibromyalgia and the arthritis, I already had a problem controlling my body temperature. Now it’s impossible. I’m layered up to the hilt right now and still shivering. This is life.

I can’t get comfortable either with the increased pain levels. I don’t have actual relief from the pain. It’s there. It varies but it doesn’t go away. My mental health isn’t great, and I’m exhausted and likely to fall asleep soon. My awake hours go down in the colder months. This is reality.

If you know someone with chronic pain, why not check in on them this winter? Even if they aren’t able to spend time with you, you may find they appreciate a text, a call, a care package of their favorite treats and/or fluffy warm things like socks or a fleece blanket, or books, things to keep them occupied. There are plenty of box subscriptions that let you gift a one-off box that could make a difference.

It means the world to us when we are reminded that we are loved/thought of. It’s why I try and drop at least one message a week to another friend with a chronic condition to let them know I am thinking of them too. It’s lonely being the person who can’t enjoy all the festive parties the way others do, or feeling forgotten by those who are enjoying the season. So please reach out and let someone know you care.

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Photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz on Getty Images

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