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Summer Relief

Ever since I can remember, summer has been a relief for my rheumatoid arthritis. I know that some folks like it cold for their RA, but I have never been that case. I like it hot! And I don’t care much whether it is humid or not, just as long as the heat comes.

In the winter it feels like I can rarely ever get warm, but I love that summer removes this problem (except for over air-conditioned spaces). I enjoy spending time sitting in the heat and my joints seems to soak it up like a sponge.

Perhaps this year, summer has been extra helpful because I’m dealing with a medication failure. The drug I am on for my RA is not working well, yet I’ve been able to cope because I can get my warm weather and do exercises in the pool daily (except when it rains!). Although I’m not feeling so great, these things help me to feel better and mitigate the fact that the medication is lackluster.

Summer Distractions

Summer also brings relief in the form of distractions or various fun activities that keep my mind off not feeling well. I can go see baseball, hang outdoors with friends, take trips to see family, go on walks in the neighborhood and just get out and about more easily than I am able in winter. I don’t think twice about going out because I know that I will be plenty warm and comfortable.

When my medication began to fail, I really worried that I would not be able to enjoy the summer. I feared that I would feel too bad and would instead have to rest and cope with fatigue and pain. While I have had some bad days, I’m happy that summer has actually helped and instead I am pretty much able to enjoy my time as I had planned.

Summer heat: A soothing balm for medication issues

While we are figuring out the next steps for my treatment, I have summer to help me through. I still am needing some extra rest, but a nap on the patio is a fine way to get it! And extra time sitting by the pool can’t hurt either. I am working in my leisure as I continue to enjoy the warm summer days.

My hope is that by the time the cooler fall days arrived, I will be on a new medication and ramping up to a more effective treatment. I’m thinking ahead to the winter when the aches and pains come more readily and strongly than they do in the summer. What can I do now to prepare me for that time? Like a squirrel, how can I stock up on nuts during the warm days that will hold me over during the deprivation of winter?

It’s always a relief when the RA lets up a little. I know that my inflammation is high, but I am feeling better as far as symptoms because of the warmth of summer. If it were any other time of year, I’d be struggling much worse.

I’ve had summers that have been much better—low inflammation, feeling great, full of energy. And it’s not going to happen this year (at least it’s not likely on my current treatment). But I’m actually OK with just doing fine. It’s because I know it could be a lot worse and also because I know that my medication is not helping me that much (if at all). If I can get by on a little summer relief, then I am glad for the good fortune of timing. Besides, there’s always next summer to look forward to!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    10 months ago

    Yes!! Summer is my favorite season, because I generally have less pain. This summer(2018) has had extra rain, which plays havoc on my joints. So I spend as much time as I can in the sun. I also have a sunroof in my car–a necessity for me.

  • rockcandi
    10 months ago

    Kelly I’m so sorry the medication failed! (Xeljanz? I recently tried it too but it made my heart race and caused pressure in my chest and radiating pain in my shoulder and arm so I had to give it up after 2 weeks. Hope I didn’t overstep bounds in asking med name, think I remember you saying recently you were trying it.) But I am so glad that the summer heat is helping and you’re not struggling the way you would be in the winter! I wonder the same thing about storing nuts for the winter (in the fall) and for the summer (in the spring) as the weather extremes, too cold and too hot and humid, make my RA worse. If you figure out how to do that, let me know! 😉

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    9 months ago

    Thanks Rockcandi! 🙂 Unfortunately the Xeljanz is not working for me–every body is different and mine is certainly a challenge! Working on switching, but it is taking longer than I would like. You were certainly right in changing your medication too as we have to be aware of the impact of negative side effects. I like the idea of storing nuts! LOL! My coping mechanism (since I like warmer weather but live in a place with winter) is to plan a vacation to a warm place during the worst time of winter. Keeps me motivated and looking forward to fun in the sun! 🙂 Best, Kelly ( Team)

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    10 months ago

    Isn’t it funny how we can’t seem to win with RA. I love both the winter and summer, but, like you, rockcandi, the extreme changes wreck havoc on my joints!

    I take lots of naps and I justify them by saying I’m storing energy for the upcoming seasons, lol!

    All the best, Monica

  • rockcandi
    9 months ago

    I take lots of naps all year long lol! Here’s hoping you are always able to enjoy spring and fall!

  • pasparry1
    10 months ago

    I’m so glad to read this: I absolutely loathe the winter cold and wet and raw days. However even when my medications leave a lot to be desired, and even when I’m really pretty wretched with pain, the warm, hot summer days are like a balm to my body!

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    10 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, Pat! We are on the same wavelength! Stay warm and enjoy the heat! Sending you sunny thoughts. Best, Kelly ( Team)

  • Nina Winterbottom moderator
    10 months ago

    I am so glad you can find relief in this weather, Pat! It’s incredible what a difference the environment can make, even when the meds don’t. – Nina, Team

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