Managing Pain in Fall Weather

Acupuncture, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC

While treating a patient this week, I asked the level of pain the patient was experiencing. This is my standard question for everyone at the beginning of treatment so that we can reflect on improvement at the end of therapy or at their next appointment. The patient answered the question stating that the pain level was low, but had also felt slightly increased more than usual because of the seasonal change.

As we all know fall season is upon us and it's bringing in that crisp, cool, and damp weather. I know many people who enjoy fall weather but for people suffering from pain it's another obstacle they have to endure while undergoing pain management. Some people, not all, have increased pain in the morning due to cool and damp weather; it is especially prominent in people suffering from arthritis. 

There are activities you can do at home in between treatments to help combat your pain. First thing is to keep going...I always tell my patients how "stopping" due to pain will have the body "stuck". You have to keep your body moving. Secondly, you can use a heating pad on the painful areas, such as your knees and back to soothe the area and increase circulation. Please keep in mind, if you have numbness, keep the heating level low. 

Third, start to cook with seasonal foods that are found in the fall. A few vegetables to include would be cabbage and squash. Here is a great east Indian-style cabbage dish recipe from the book titled Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.

1 medium cabbage, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp each coriander, cumin, grated ginger
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 cup almond milk

  • Heat oil. Add mustard and cover. Allow them to pop and dance inside the pot for a few minutes.
  • Scatter in remaining spices and stir once.
  • Add cabbage. Saute 8 minutes.
  • Add milk and cover.
  • Simmer on low heat 30 minutes until tender and bright light green.

As always, it's important to see your acupuncturist or health advocate on a regular basis. Sometimes, our body just needs a little attention and encouragement.