Why am I achier when it’s cold and damp? It’s a question I get all the time between fall and spring.
In Chinese Medicine, there are many causes for pain and discomfort. The most obvious would be trauma and then we have situations of strain and overuse, as well as internal organ imbalance.
Although there can be more causes, these are the most frequent. Most people who get achy before a rain storm or snowfall have had some type of injury to a joint and after time passes they notice the recurring ache. In Chinese medicine, there is a concept of cold and dampness that comes into play when treating most situations of pain. There are many other factors as well, but I’m going to stay on track with dampness. When the environment interacts with our body our internal environment is always affected. It is generally accepted from the classic books of Chinese medicine that people’s bodies reflect the environment that they live in and because we are so affected by this, the environment as well as the seasons often come into play with the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The ache that we can sometimes feel is generally due to damp pathogens, but how is the “dampness” in our body?
This can come from digestive problems, poor circulation, diet and lifestyle, and lack of use. With Chinese Medicine, there are rarely black-and-white situations. If there is a problem; it is usually a situation of many things interacting and becoming a problem. It tends to be like anything in life. Just take any situation in your life and if you think long enough about it we can usually find at least 3 contributing factors that make anything or any event happen in the world.
How do we deal with dampness when it’s lurking around in the body?
Acupuncture treatment is by far my favorite way to deal with this type of situation with herbal medicine, moxibustion, and bodywork coming after. One way to treat these situations on your own is to warm these achy areas with a hot pack or warm compress. Another way to intervene is by being careful about what we eat. Try cooking with turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Avoid ice water and soda and try drinking noncaffeinated tea or warm water when you are thirsty.
Regular exercise is also very important and can be as simple as a daily walk in the neighborhood.