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Does Barometric Pressure Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Does Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

Does Weather Affect Arthritis?

Here is the kicker:

There is no solid scientific evidence that suggests a correlation between arthritis symptoms and weather changes.

But various studies have proved that humidity does appear to have a clear influence on the symptoms of RA. The patients experience an increase in joint pain and stiffness as the weather becomes more humid. Though the reason behind it is not certain.

A 2015 study in which 800 patients suffering from osteoarthritis were included has shown that most of the patients experienced an increase in joint pain and stiffness in humid weather. The swelling and pain increased as soon as the weather became a bit cold.

This shows that there is some link between humid weather and symptoms of arthritis. But there is no research that can explain this correlation completely.

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The Arthritis And Weather Connection

Many people with arthritis claim that weather affects how they feel. Some people believe that symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pain and joint stiffness, are influenced by changes in the weather. Is there actually a connection between arthritis and weather? If yes, why is the effect of weather changes on arthritis true for some people, but not for others? And, finally, if this connection exists, what is the best climate for someone with arthritis? Should they start packing and move as soon as possible?

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Linking Barometric Pressure And Arthritis: The Beginning

Although there is also evidence to suggest that temperature affects joint pain, most of the research has focused on the effects that barometric pressure may have on arthritis pain. Barometric pressure, also known as atmospheric pressure, changes with different weather systems. Youve probably heard your local TV weather presenter talk about high-pressure systems and low-pressure systems the pressure they are referring to here is barometric pressure.

Many arthritis sufferers firmly believe that their pain worsens prior to a change in the weather, which is an indication that it may be linked to barometric pressure. One of the earliest official studies assessing the relationship between arthritis pain and weather conditions was performed in 1948, and although the results did show that patients in a climate chamber with a constant temperature and moderate humidity experienced less pain, the investigators didnt actually control for changes in barometric pressure. Plus, it was 1948.

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Stay Active And Hydrated

Staying active will help to keep your blood flowing. Aim to consume less salt salt makes your body retain extra water, while drinking more water can dilute salt levels. To ease the swelling, raise your feet or put a pillow under your ankles while youre in bed.

Professor Walker-Bone recommends using ice packs or having cool showers. Adjust the temperature of the water to suit your personal preference, she says. If you use ice, remember to wrap it in a tea towel first so it doesnt burn your skin. Cooling gels and sprays may also help. If youre sweating more than usual, this can make you dehydrated, so keep topping up your fluid levels with regular drinks.

If you have gout, its particularly important to avoid getting dehydrated, as this can trigger an attack. Read our managing gout top tips.

Barometric Pressure & Weather

The Effect of Weather on Psoriatic Arthritis

In my experience, areas of low pressure mean rain. Areas of high pressure mean sunshine. In California, we have huge, heavy, sluggish ovals of high pressure sitting, on most of the state, most of the time. Those high pressure areas block most of the storms coming in off the Pacific Ocean, forcing them to slide north or south and acting like a big ol umbrella that keeps us nice and dry. And while the high pressure remains, blocking any actual weather, my joints gripe and groan and sometimes, scream.

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How Can You Treat Weather

When the weather changes overnight, and you wake up to an extra ache in your joints, there are a few tricks to keep in your back pocketparticularly for people with osteoarthritis. That said, if you have rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or another inflammatory form of arthritis, you likely already have a treatment plan in place for flare-ups, which may involve a course of corticosteroids prescribed by your doctor. Of course, these tips can still be helpful in addition to your prescription medications but talk with your doctor first. Here are a few things to try, according to the CDC:

  • A stash of over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help tame unexpected weather-related joint pain. These can take the edge off, at least until that barometric pressure has a chance to rise. If thats not doing the trick, you can always talk with your doctor about a prescription-strength option to get that arthritis pain relief.
  • Gentle physical activity, such as yoga or range of motion exercises, can help ease pain and stiffness.
  • Physical therapy gives you the tools to practice at home consistently, which can be helpful to ward off flare-ups and reduce pain when you do have one.
  • Practicing grounding techniques, like deep breathing, can help take your focus away from anxious thoughts or feeling down when the weather is to blame for aches and pains.

The Chronic Nature Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammation in the lining inside your joints causes swelling, pain and stiffness. However, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of your body, such as your skin, eyes, blood vessels, and even your organs, like your lungs or heart.

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment can help lessen pain and stiffness, and slow down the diseases progress. However, no matter how well your disease is under control, you may find that cold weather makes your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms worse. You may even feel you can predict the weather based on how your joints feel. There havent been many studies looking into the weather-pain connection in rheumatoid arthritis. Some small studies seem to support it, while others are inconclusive.

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Does Cold Weather Affect Arthritis

If you have arthritis, you might find that your joint pain is worse in the winter months. Healthcare providers and people with arthritis agree that cold weather could make arthritis pain worse. But the research connecting arthritis and colder temperatures isn’t clear.

While researchers believe a connection exists, they do not offer conclusive reasons how or why cold weather makes arthritis worse. Further, no research or evidence has found that cold weather can cause arthritis.

The article covers the connection between arthritis and cold weather and how to reduce arthritis pain in the winter months.

dragana991 / Getty Images

The term “arthritis” refers to over 100 conditions that cause joint pain. Arthritis can affect anyone of any age, race, or sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , arthritis affects an estimated 58.5 million U.S. adults.

The main symptoms of arthritis are swelling, tenderness, and stiffness of one or more joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis .

OA is a wear-and-tear type of arthritis that causes cartilage to break down. RA is a type of inflammatory arthritis in which the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissues, mainly the linings of the joints.

What Should I Expect From Infrared Therapy

The effects of barometric pressure changes on patients with osteoarthritis

Whether you choose the BioMat or the infrared sauna, your treatment is safe, non-invasive and medication-free! But like anything new, it can sound a little intimidating. Heres the low-down on what to expect when you do a treatment.

BioMat

The BioMat is a wonderful, comfortable mat to lie on, and it sends high-energy infrared light through you. You can use the BioMat in 15 or 30 minute blocks, and it really is as simple as kicking back and making yourself comfortable. I enjoy meditating when I use the BioMat whatever you do, make sure your cellphone is off so you can relax. The BioMat warms you up as the rays penetrate your skin and tissues its a pleasant sensation. I generally advise starting off at a low setting at 15 minutes each session to get you used to the sensation.

Remember to:

  • Drink water beforehand and afterwards.
  • Turn off your cellphone.
  • Always use the quilted cover and pillow supplied for your session.
  • Plan to relax the rest of the dayuntil you know how your body will respond to treatments.

Infrared Sauna

  • Drink water beforehand and afterwards.
  • Bring a book or meditate.
  • Avoid falling asleep .
  • Give yourself time to cool down naturally before bathing .
  • Plan to relax the rest of the dayuntil you know how your body will respond to treatments.

At Arizona Wellness Medicine we have infrared therapy available via our mPulse Believe Sunlighten infrared sauna , and our BioMat.

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Procedures To Address Dry Eyes

There are some medical procedures that might be considered for dry eyes, including:

  • The use of special contacts designed to protect the surface of your eye and prevent moisture from escaping.
  • A procedure known as the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation to clear blocked oil glands in the eye.
  • A procedure using punctal plugs made of silicone to block your tear ducts. This can help to retain moisture in the eyes.

Stretches To Try After A Cold

Try this cooldown-stretching routine from Morgan after a cold-weather run or other outdoor workout. Hold each static stretch, or perform each dynamic move, for at least 30 seconds.

  • Start in downward facing dog, with your hands shoulder-width apart, butt lifted back and toward the ceiling, legs straight, arms extended, back flat, and your head in between your arms.
  • Bring your right foot forward outside your right hand. Your right knee should be bent in a deep runners lunge . Briefly hold that position before bringing your right foot back and transitioning into a downward facing dog. This is 1 rep.
  • Continue for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
  • Sit on a mat and bring your right leg underneath your body, placing it in front of you with your shin parallel to the top of your mat.
  • Extend your left leg long behind you and rest the top of your foot on the mat.
  • Keep your right foot flexed and try to keep your left hip as close to the mat as you can. If it lifts off the floor, bring your right foot a little closer to your body. Keep your torso straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
  • Lie on your back and stretch your arms out to your sides. Bring your knees in toward your chest and then drop them over to one side, keeping your knees and hips in line with each other.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.

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What Are The Warning Signs Of Arthritis

Pain from arthritis can be ongoing or can come and go. It may occur when youre moving or after you have been still for some time. You may feel pain in one spot or in many parts of your body.

Your joints may feel stiff and be hard to move. You may find that its hard to do daily tasks you used to do easily, such as climbing stairs or opening a jar. Pain and stiffness may be more severe during certain times of the day or after youve done certain tasks.

Some types of arthritis cause swelling or inflammation. The skin over the joint may appear swollen and red and feel hot to the touch. Some types of arthritis can also cause fatigue.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain

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The quest to define the link between arthritis and the weather continues, with researchers adopting more novel approaches that embrace modern technology.

The first smartphone-based study to investigate the relationship between weather and chronic pain, otherwise known as Cloudy with a chance of pain, ran between January 2016 and April 2017. During this time it collected 5 million pieces of data on symptoms, however the findings are yet to be reported.6

One smartphone-based study that has released findings looked at the location-based weather parameters of 1,334 participants in the US. Any significant links between pain symptoms and the weather were very weak in this study.7

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The Importance Of Regular Eye Care

The most effective way to diagnose and control inflammation of the eye is to consult your rheumatologist a day before any surgery for any eye condition. If there is an apparent eye-related symptom, you can call the eye doctor for medically reviewed opinion and advise.

A yearly dilated ear examination is essential to see early underlying conditions and damage. The most common eye disorders are not very painful or can have very poor vision.

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Does Altitude Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

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People with the autoimmune condition rheumatoid arthritis often wonder about the effects of altitude on their symptoms and condition. In fact, myRAteam members have asked each other whether they should take trips to the mountains or continue going on ski vacations after being diagnosed with RA.

It is true that some people with RA find that extreme changes in altitude can affect their arthritis. Here, we will consider experiences from people with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as research on the impact of altitude on the disease.

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Possible Causes For More Pain When Its Cold

Whether studies have proven that cold weather causes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms to worsen doesnt help you if you find your own pain and stiffness go up when the temperature drops. Even if theres no scientific explanation for the cause, you can still talk with your doctor about ways to manage this change in symptoms.

Some doctors theorize that pain and stiffness may worsen because of the drop in barometric pressure. The pain and stiffness from rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation in the membranes lining your joints. A drop in barometric pressure could cause the tissues to expand, putting more pressure on an already crowded joint. This would cause the pain and stiffness to worsen.

But if the barometric pressure causes body tissues to expand, why doesnt everyone feel painor more painwhen it gets cold? Because barometric pressure doesnt affect everyone. For example, some people with migraines see their pain increase or worsen when the weather and barometric pressure change, but others dont.

Another possible cause is how our body responds when we first step outside in the cold. Its not unusual to feel our bodies stiffen up and remain stiff until were back into a warmer environment. The same thing occurs if youre sitting in a cold home or office. The cold can slow blood circulation and cause muscle .

You Likely Cant Relocate To Avoid The Weather

Pain Caused by Changes in Barometric Pressure

So if joint symptoms are milder on sunnier, drier days, why doesnt everyone move to Los Angelessurely this is the best weather for arthritis? Well, one study found that weather sensitivity wasnt related to where the study participants lived, whether that was San Diego, Nashville, Boston, or Worcester, MAhumidity levels change, and temperature drops can happen everywhere.10, 11 Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about a remedy for the pain so that you can go on and enjoy the great outdoorseven on those cold and humid days!

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What Do The Experts Think

The Arthritis Foundation published a study from Tufts University in 2007 that found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. In addition, low temperatures, low barometric pressure, and precipitation can increase pain. Researchers are not sure why weather changes cause pain but suspect that certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in the joint. For more information, visit arthritis.org. Although research conclusions are mixed, anecdotal evidence from patients and most experts support a link between the weather and joint pain. Depending on the severity of joint pain, patients should see their orthopedic specialist at Direct Orthopedic Care to create a changing-weather treatment plan. As for weather-related pain, it hurts, but its only temporary. Your joints should return to normal as soon as the barometric pressure increases and the temperature goes up. Your great aunt may be able to predict calm weather, too, as she feels less joint pain.

The Worst Weather For Joint Pain

As temperatures decrease, joint pain tends to increase. Research has shown that every 10-degree drop in temperature incrementally increases arthritis pain. Add precipitation, such as rain or sleet, and joint pain may worsen more.

Cold, wet days seem to be the worst for those with joint pain. Sunny, dry days help those with arthritis feel better, and they report less joint pain. Sunny weather also improves your overall mood, which may help distract from joint pain.

Shifts in the barometric pressure also affect many peoples joint pain. Barometric pressure measures the weight of the air. Once the barometer settles, your pain lessens, but as it goes down with the onset of a cool front, you may experience accelerated discomfort. Similarly, the onset of a high-pressure system and a rise in barometric pressure may actually help ease joint pain.

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