Managing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in the hot weather

By Paul Turner 29th May 2020

With the UK currently experiencing an elongated period of hot weathers, many people suffering from CRPS are experiencing flare ups along with new and sometimes additional extreme symptoms.

Whilst some sufferers get relief from the warm weather and have been praying for the sun, others are finding the effects of the heat as harmful as the extreme cold experienced through the winter months. You are not alone.

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What Are Chronic CRPS Sufferers Saying?

One sufferer told us, “I am struggling with sweating when it’s very hot and sunny, although that’s not anything particularly new to me, it is so much worse now”.

Sweating is not uncommon to anyone in the heat, as it is a sign our natural cooling system is working. When sweat evaporates, it cools the body, dissipating the heat generated by your metabolism.

However excess sweating, otherwise known as Hyperhidrosis, is a common symptom of CRPS and can have a dreadful impact on hypersensitivity of the skin, increasing swelling, redness and, of course, heightening pain as well as sometimes the social embarrassment associated with sweating.

It can have a major impact on daily comfort and can disrupt sleep patterns further, with one client describing waking “in a bucket of sweat” and having to have two beds made up each night in order to avoid changing the sheets half way through the night.

Another person reported increased hypersensitivity leading to excess stiffness, “I get hypersensitive and constantly have to desensitise, keep as mobile as possible, despite the pain, or I quickly lock and have an increase in all symptoms. My motto is use it or lose it!"

Keeping active in the heat, whilst keeping cool, in order to avoid excess stiffness and joint pain, can be an extremely difficult feat in this weather, with many reporting skin and joints feeling burning hot and just like in the colder months wind and direct sunlight against the skin increasing hypersensitivity.  

CRPS sufferers often report being extra sensitive to changes in the weather, sometimes even being able to detect a change in the weather from new and / or worsening symptoms, such as those mentioned above.

One study into the effect of weather extremes on CRPS symptoms has suggested that it is the change in air pressure that caused sufferers to be able to detect the changes in the weather before they occur and often seeing these changes causing flare ups in regular symptoms.

What Can I do About Worsening CRPS Symptoms in the Sun?

It is important to be aware of what you can do in order to fight worsening symptoms as a result of the current hot weather.

Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Use a cold compress or an ice pack to target limb or skin heat and redness
    Only do this if it is not going to make your hypersensitivity worse and do not apply ice directly to the skin, make sure it is wrapped in a towel or other barrier material first.
     
  • Use of creams such as EMLA cream
    These creams can be really helpful in reducing sensitivity in skin caused by the heat and wind resistance. This is a topical anaesthetic normally used to numb the skin for purposes of injections, one of our clients swears by it and applies it daily before heading out or even into the shower.
     
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids
    It is vital to keep properly hydrated in the summer, especially if you’re experiencing excessive sweating. Keeping your body hydrated is extremely important as dehydration can worsen symptoms further. Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible. This will help with skin sensitivity and prevent you from overheating.
     
  • Wear loose and airy clothing
    Tight clothing can feel restrictive particularly on swollen limbs and will exacerbate skin hypersensitivity.
     
  • When the heat drops in the evenings remember to be prepared and stay warm
    Fluctuations in body temperature can wreak havoc with symptoms and it’s important not to get too cold once the temperature drops, however tempting it is to rapidly cool your body temperature.
     
  • Try to stay active
    Gentle exercise can prevent joints from stiffening up causing further pain.
     

Ultimately it is important if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms to consult with your doctor or other medical professionals. It can be easy to dismiss a new symptom as a temporary reaction to the heat.

There are many treatments for Chronic Pain conditions, especially for symptoms that are exacerbated by the sun and higher temperatures, so it is important to keep in touch with your doctor to discuss how to manage your symptoms and chronic pain.

We Can Help...

If you’ve been injured or had an accident and developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome our specialist chronic pain lawyers can help.

They are highly experienced in this field and can not only help you understand your condition, but will also seek the opinion of top medical experts and leading barristers to reinforce your claim.  

Contact our specialist team today or click here to arrange your free initial consultation on a no win no fee basis. 

For further information on a wide range of chronic pain conditions please visit our chronic pain section.