I’ve Learned That Seasonal Allergies Can Trigger a Pain Flare
Summer is in full swing here, and one fun part for me is seasonal allergies, or hay fever.
I deal with both indoor and outdoor allergies year-round, but they tend to be worse in the summer. I’ve noticed over the years that a weather front moving through can sometimes kick off my allergies. I suspect that these types of weather patterns carry pollen and other allergens from other locations to my area.
I’ve done allergy testing, and one of the main findings was that I’m highly allergic to all five of the most common types of mold. That’s not so great for someone who lives on a farm and spends a lot of time outdoors. I told doctors not to even bother testing me for allergies to dogs, cats, or horses, as nothing in my life would change, regardless of the results.
An interesting pattern that my first massage therapist, Heather, noticed was that I often would say I was extra sore or having a pain flare at the same times that my allergies were bad. I’d never noticed this before, but when I thought about it, I realized she was right. Both of us wondered if there might be some underlying connection between the two, but we weren’t really sure what it might be.
In addition to being a massage therapist, Heather was also finishing up nursing school when I was a client. She was intrigued by my symptoms and theorized that the inflammation caused by my reaction to seasonal allergens led to a more general systemic inflammatory reaction. That inflammation could in turn lead to flare-ups.
After doing some research, it turns out she was right. Seasonal allergies can lead to systemic inflammation, which can worsen chronic pain or cause pain flares. It can also cause tiredness, which isn’t so great for someone who already deals with chronic fatigue.
When I think about it, it’s an obvious connection, but I hadn’t realized it. I haven’t seen Heather in about eight years, as she went on to work full time as a nurse, but I remember this frequently to help in the day-to-day management of my Ehlers-Danlos symptoms. Keeping my allergies under control is important regardless, but it’s even more so given this knowledge.
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