back pain, chronic illness, chronic pain, humidity, summer, weather
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How to Handle Chronic Pain in the Summer

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If you’re like me, then you dread weather patterns and barometric pressure changes. You can feel the effects of a rainstorm swelling in your body, and maybe you pretend that you’re a superhero with poorly-controlled weather powers (again, if you’re like me).


“Sorry guys, my aim is reeeeeeally bad.”

For more than a decade I have been able to predict rain with 99 percent accuracy. Humidity decimates me. The cold can find me in several sweaters and a non-ironic Snuggie. I have touched on this topic before, but now that we have experienced the hottest day of the year so far in Massachusetts and the humidity refuses to abate, I ask myself: Why on earth do I live here?

This would protect me from ALL THE HEAT.

This would protect me from ALL THE HEAT.

Seasons are, generally speaking, difficult for those of us with chronic conditions. Our fragile bodies are unable to handle random, drastic weather changes. That’s why it confuses me when the elderly flock to Florida… like birds. It’s humid down there. Short rainstorms occur almost daily. The heat is intense.

“What’s the thermostat set at? 85 degrees? Crank that sucker up.” — everyone’s grandmother, probably.

Whatever my reasons, I choose to stay here. So how do I deal with the seasonal onslaught of Mother Earth?

Just a normal July.

Just a normal July.

  1. I play hide and seek with humidity. Normally I take a walk at lunch in order to reverse the stiffness from sitting all day at work. However, on extremely hot and humid days, I constrict my walk to the air-conditioned stairwell on the far side of the building. I can see outside and get some sun, but humidity is kept at bay. I am only exposed to its wrath going to and from my car.
  2. Did I mention air-conditioning? When I get home from work (after treating myself to an air-conditioned car ride), I grab my dinner, my yoga mat, and Fattie the cat before disappearing into my bedroom — the only room in the house with a window unit.
  3. I try to keep moving. On weather-extreme days my body likes to start firing off and seize up. I’d like nothing more than to call in sick, keep the AC on high, and watch YouTube until September. However, I drag myself to the gym and get into the pool. Water aerobics help lubricate the joints (still not a good enough reason to use the word “lubricate,” for which I apologize).
  4. I wear Cryoderm. Like Bengay, it contains menthol, which cools my skin.
  5. I basically wear gym clothes, because they are more forgiving. As an attorney, this can pose some challenges if I show up to work in a warrior muumuu.

Other than that, I sit inside and fear the sun, just like our ancestors did.

“Why does the day-ball burn us?!”


  1. I have just spent the last four days in the Amazon jungle. Is it possible to have 100% humidity? 200%?! I was a puddle of sweat the entire time, and the Mosquitos ate me alive! I’m a mess!


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