Chapter 11-3: Weather and Pain

One minute it was summer, and three days later icicles were hanging from the water faucet at Sprague campground in Glacier. Fortunately, we had come prepared for cold weather and were snug under our king-sized down comforter wearing woolly socks. Bob to keep his neck warm had wrapped a scarf around it and donned a gray woolly hat over his head. 

How Trees Grow in Glacier National Park

Weather and Pain

The idea that certain painful health conditions like arthritis are affected by the weather is both widespread and ancient. Doctors all over the world hear from their patients that their arthritis flares up when the weather turns bad. As far back as the fourth century BC, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine believed that the weather, especially warm or cold winds, could affect people’s health.

Today doctors know that weather clearly influences many health conditions. Examples of this relationship include pollens in the air and asthma or sinus infection; sun rays and skin burning or skin cancer; cold weather and heart attacks; and gloomy, dark weather and depression. We also know that heat packs or hot showers can relax the muscles around the joints and relieve stiffness and pain for some. Conversely, ice packs can ease the inflammation in the joints themselves.