The Morning Shower vs Chronic Pain

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You get up every morning, roll out of bed, and hop in the shower. For millions of Amreican’s this is how our day starts, and for the most part the only painful part of it is the thought of that nice warm bed we just rolled out of. But for many other people around the globe who suffer from chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or CRPS, that morning routine can be actually physically painful.

We stumbled across an article from About.com this afternoon regarding a question that seems to be popular among chronic pain patients, “Why am I so tired, sometimes wiped out for the entire day, when I take a shower in the morning?” Here are some of the responses:

  1. Exertion: Especially for those with chronic fatigue syndrome, even small amounts of exertion can be too much. A shower takes more energy than we tend to recognize — you’re standing the whole time, doing a fair amount of bending, stretching and reaching, and vigorously lathering up your head and body. When you consider that we often have to start an “exercise” routine with 2 repetitions of a simple movement, you can see how much work showering can be.
  2. Relaxation: The hot water of a shower can be relaxing, which is great in some ways. However, for those of us who deal with profound fatigue, it’s probably not the best thing for us early in the day, when we’re still fighting to wake up.
  3. Temperature Sensitivities: While the hot water may feel good, it can also get our temperature sensitivity going and throw off homeostasis. Our bodies have a hard time keeping us at the right temperature, so when we get heated up like that, it’s a lot of work to cool us back down to normal. Some of us get so over heated that we sweat profusely after a shower.
  4. Dizziness: We’re prone to dizziness, and the heat of the shower combined with the motions of washing can have your body working overtime to keep your sense of balance.  I’ve had frightening dizzy spells in a hot shower — very scary!
  5. Heightened Nerve Response: Especially in fibromyalgia, the pressure of the water hitting your skin can get your nerves riled up. It might not hurt while you’re in there, but the stimulation on our over-reactive nerves could put them closer to the point of sending erroneous pain signals and making you hurt all over.

The simple solution, says About.com, take a shower the night before to avoid extreme fatigue during the day. About.com also suggests not taking  a shower at all when the chronic pain and fatigue is too much too bare. Instead, consider alternatives like baby wipes to freshen up.

If you deal with chronic fatigue from that morning shower, talk to your pain doctor today for solutions.