When you think of seasonal allergy symptoms you might initially think of sneezing, congestion, and coughing. However, seasonal allergies can result in a much wider array of symptoms. Your seasonal allergies could also be indirectly responsible for your aching, stiff joints.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are allergies that occur during a particular season. Most people refer to them as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. These allergic reactions are generally triggered by outdoor allergens, like pollen. The pollen causes your immune system to overreact and display an allergic response.
Triggers, or allergens, vary from person to person. Some of the most common hay fever triggers stem from wind-pollinated plants. Trees, weeds, and grasses cause far more seasonal allergies than insect-pollinated plants.
Most people experience seasonal allergy symptoms during the spring, summer, and fall. Because different plants release pollen at different times, it's possible to experience allergies in more than one season. Some people also feel the effects of pollen year-round depending on their allergy triggers and where they live.
Many of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms are cold- or flu-like. Depending on the severity of your allergies and the strength of the immune reaction, symptoms can be very mild or extremely severe.
Most allergy sufferers will experience a combination of the following:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy sinuses, ear canals, and throat
- Congested ears
- Watery, itchy eyes
- Postnasal drainage
In more severe cases, allergy sufferers may also experience headaches, coughing and wheezing, or shortness of breath.
Doctors have found that people who suffer from seasonal allergies often also have asthma. For those experiencing both conditions, allergens may not only lead to allergy-like symptoms but could also trigger an asthma attack.
What Does Joint Pain Feel Like?
Joint pain can take different forms depending on the circumstance. For some people, joint pain manifests through their joints feeling stiff and achy. Others may notice sharp, shooting pains or even a burning sensation around their joints. Joint pain can be caused by several different factors.
What Causes Joint Pain?
In most cases, joint pain is due to inflammation at the site of the joint. To find the cause of your pain, medical professionals generally need to look for the cause of the inflammation.
Common reasons for inflamed joints include:
- Acute trauma
- Chronic illness
Falling on your knees or spraining an ankle can cause acute trauma to your joints. While an injury may happen in a few seconds it can have longer-term consequences. The injury can trigger a reaction in your body as the immune system starts to repair the damage. As you heal, the pain subsides.
If your joint pain has become chronic, the cause may be osteoarthritis. This condition develops over time as cartilage, the protective layer between your bones, wears away. This happens as we age. With other forms of arthritis, your immune system starts to attack the cartilage and other parts of your joint.
While it's perfectly normal for joints to show some signs of aging, it's important to identify what causes your joint pain. Once the source of the pain is clear, it's easier to treat your joints and provide relief.
How Do Allergies Cause Body Aches and Muscle Pain?
Seasonal allergies trigger an immune reaction which can cause inflammation and fatigue. If you're suffering from joint pain, muscle aches, or general discomfort during allergy season, your allergies may be indirectly causing your symptoms. Other allergy symptoms, like prolonged coughing and sneezing, can also contribute to feeling sore.
We normally think of allergies in terms of sneezing and nasal congestion. But when your immune system reacts to allergens, that response isn't confined only to your respiratory tract. Think of it as a full-body attack on the intruding allergen.
The attack causes an inflammatory response, which is a critical part of your body's defense mechanism to help it heal. However, when it comes to allergens, the inflammation your body produces does not contribute to healing since you are not sick. This inflammatory response can result in joint pain.
In addition, seasonal allergies may negatively affect the amount of unbroken sleep you get per night or your overall sleep quality. A lack of sleep in itself can contribute to inflammation in the body, which may lead to achy, stiff joints.
What Joints Can Be Affected by Allergies?
Allergies trigger a full-body immune response, which means any joint could be affected. However, most allergy sufferers complain about inflammation in their hands, wrists, knees, and feet. Those are some of the most commonly affected joints, and you may feel symptoms in one or more places.
In more severe cases, allergies may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that is caused by compressed nerves in your hands. Carpal tunnel makes it harder for you to control your hand movements and may also limit the sensation in your hands.
Joint pain caused by allergies should be taken seriously. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to long-term side effects beyond temporary joint pain or discomfort.
Treatments for Allergies and Joint Pain
Treating your allergies and joint pain starts by identifying the source of the pain and the cause of your allergies. Identifying what you are allergic to will help you avoid your triggers and get a treatment plan that results in long-term symptom relief.
It is possible to address both allergies and joint pain symptoms concurrently. Topical treatments can minimize pain and limit allergic reactions. Managing your allergy symptoms only offers temporary relief. To get long-term relief from your symptoms, you need to treat the root cause of your allergies.
Sublingual immunotherapy is an easy and convenient way to beat your allergies for good. The goal of sublingual immunotherapy is to expose your body to small doses of the allergens you are allergic to, allowing your immune system to become desensitized to them. Once you become desensitized, your immune system stops reacting to the triggers. This results in long-term symptom relief.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you're ready to find long-term relief from your allergies and joint pain, Wyndly can help. Complete this quick online assessment to find out how we can help you achieve a life free from allergies!