I’ve Learned That Seasonal Allergies Can Trigger a Pain Flare

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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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.

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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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Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

Comments

Kathy Fleming avatar

Kathy Fleming

I have definitely noticed the same thing. Or if I am under the gutters when someone starts removing the old leaves (highly allergic to mold), or being down in the dirt, digging wet leaves. I have also noticed that if I jump in my friend's sauna, and it's been a really long time since I've been in a sauna, had a massage or done cupping, and I do cupping in the sauna, I will come out of the sauna feeling like I have the flu. It's like I've released tons of toxins into my bloodstream. And I'll be sick for a day or two. But if I then go back into the sauna, on some sort of a routine basis, that won't happen again. Until the next time that I let a lot of time go by. And I have definitely noticed that the days that I feel like I have the flu, post sauna day, I will take allergy pills, and I will feel somewhat better. No idea why, but this trend has continued for a few years. Whether it's exercise or any other self-care, consistency really is important with what we are dealing with! Stay well my friends!

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