Many people winterize the house, the car, and the landscaping in preparation for freezing temperatures. How about winterizing you? If you have chronic pain, you know what happens when it gets cold outside. Everything starts to ache. Everything starts to get stiff. And life gets just a little more miserable. Wintertime does not have to be all bad if you can make a few adjustments to help your body prepare for colder temperatures. Some adjustments might need to happen in the medicine cabinet. Medications can be added, increased or eliminated to help make life a little more bearable during the Burrrr-winter.
Adding a medication just for the winter months can be extremely useful and proactive. One medication that might be worth adding is Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory drug. Daily use of Celebrex all year long for years on end is usually not advisable. However, using Celebrex daily for a short period of time, like during the winter time, might be a good way to keep those aches and pains more manageable.
Other medications that are very useful during the cold months are those that help calm the nervous system. Nerves are very sensitive to cold temperatures; therefore, medications used to reduce the sensitivity of the nervous system can help prevent a spike in pain that comes with the falling temperatures. For example, a small amount of gabapentin or desipramine taken at bedtime can help with nerve pain. These temporary additions to your medicine cabinet might help you get through this winter with less pain than last year.
Increasing the dose of an existing medication in your medicine cabinet can also help. A slight, temporary increase in the dose of your sustained-release, long-acting opioid pain reliever can reduce the intensity of flare-ups and frequency of break-through pain. If you are already taking a special medication for nerve pain like Lyrica or Cymbalta, maybe a little extra amount during the winter would be a helpful adjustment.
And do not forget your vitamins. Although vitamins are not traditional medicines, they are in your medicine cabinet and badly needed during the winter months when you have less exposure to the sun and less assess to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Finally, some medications might need to be eliminated. If you are feeling dizzy, weak, lightheaded or fatigued, you are at risk for falls especially when the ice and snow arrive. Medications are often the culprit for increasing fall risk and reducing the ability to maintain balance. Sleep aids and muscle relaxers increase your fall risk and could be eliminated during the winter to help keep you from hitting the ground. All it takes is one big "KABOOM!" to make your pain hit an all-time high this winter.
With a few simple adjustments to your medications, you might be able to avoid another miserable winter. Adding a medication, increasing a medication or eliminating a medication now can mean the difference between life in bed while everyone else is enjoying the winter festivities or life amongst friends and family with a scarf around your neck and a smile on your face. This Winter's Come could mark your best winter yet with proper preparation and winterization of you.
Published On: October 11, 2011