How To Minimize Your Joint Pain During Warm Weather
- Staying cool. Remain inside when you can, especially on extremely hot days. Take breaks to stay cooler if you must venture outside, and make sure your air conditioner is turned up to a comfortable temperature.
- Stay hydrated. Water is not only good for your health, but it helps to flush toxins out of the body which also helps to fight inflammation. It aides your joints by keeping them well lubricated.
- Dont overexert yourself. Over-extension or utilization of your joints in warm weather will leave you feeling swollen later. Be mindful of how much your joints can handle.
At Orthopaedic Specialty Group, we offer a wide variety of treatments to help our patients deal with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, sports injuries, and more. Contact us today to schedule your appointment 337-2600!
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.
What Kind Of Weather Makes Arthritis Worse
While research on the link between arthritis and weather is still limited, current studies suggest that there are a few different weather patterns that can have a worsening effect on arthritis pain.
Lower temperatures during colder months are often reported to be a cause of increased joint pain in people with arthritis. Generalized joint pain, more specifically in the knees, is a common complaint that we hear during fall and winter seasons, Lauren Farrell, MSPT, a physical therapist and clinic director of Professional Physical Therapy in Hoboken, New Jersey, tells SELF.
But what is it about the colder months that seems to aggravate arthritis pain? One 2020 study published in Pain Research and Management suggests that, surprisingly, an increase in humidity levels may be to blame. In this particular study, self-reported joint tenderness and pain in participants with rheumatoid arthritis were directly connected to increased humidity levels during winter.2
You might not associate humidity with teeth-chattering weather , but an increase in humidity can actually make frigid temperatures feel even colder. This, in part, explains why people with arthritis might notice more pain during those damp, cold days associated with the Southeastern areas of the United States, as opposed to dry, cold weather in the Southwest. However, experts also believe that this increased pain might have to do with the way that blood flows through the body when were cold.
Does Heat And Humidity Make Joint Pain Worse
As we head into the Arizona monsoon season, you may be finding you have more trouble with joint pain.
Many people with arthritis find they have more stiffness and pain as the humidity rises and barometric pressure dropsas can happen before a monsoon storm. This may be because changes in temperature and humidity change the level of fluid in our joints.
In addition, the extreme Arizona heat alone can aggravate pain, simply by placing more stress on the body and making us more irritable and sensitive to discomfort.
Becoming dehydrated, which can happen quickly in the heat, can make things even worse because our joints need fluid to move smoothly.
What can you do to stay as comfortable as possible until things cool off? Try these tips.
If youre struggling with joint pain, the medical professionals at OrthoArizona can work with you to get back to enjoying the activities you love.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Pain
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 Link Between Weather And Joint Pain
It isnt entirely clear why weather affects people with arthritis, but the link between weather and arthritic pain has been extensively studied. People with arthritis may experience pain in places where temperature changes are more extreme and in damp climates. They also experience pain in response to climate factors like humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. Temperature and barometric pressure have also been noted as contributing factors to joint pain. Understanding how different weather patterns affect pain can help people with arthritis find the best climate for them.
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Does That Mean You Should Move
If a rainy, humid climate can actually make arthritis pain worse, will moving to an area with a drier climate make it better? Dont pack up and move just yet! In the long run, it wont make a difference. Sometimes, when people vacation in areas with drier climates, they do report less pain. However, people dont normally do their everyday activities while on vacation. Those who move to a drier climate will often find that their pain returns once they resume normal activities. The problem is that even if you eliminate the factors that make your pain worse, you cannot reverse the damage done by arthritis. There is treatment that can slow the progression of arthritis, but there is no cure. Those with very painful, advanced arthritis often need joint replacement surgery to improve their pain.
Also, keep in mind that no environment is arthritis-proof. People who live in drier areas like Arizona experience arthritis pain too. Often, our bodies can adjust to the new climate and detect changes in the air pressure. While moving may help you feel better temporarily, your pain will more than likely return.
If arthritis pain is affecting your everyday life, see a specialist who can help you manage your symptoms. The right treatment can help to minimize your pain and slow the progression of arthritis. In the long run, that will help you much more than moving to a drier climate.
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How Humidity Affects The Body
It might surprise you to learn just how much the weather can affect our bodies. Our joints contain sensory nerves called baroreceptors, which respond to changes in the weather. When the weather changes, the air pressure changes, and the body responds accordingly. For example, when the weather is rainy and damp, the barometric pressure drops, causing our tendons, ligaments, and muscles to expand. The baroreceptors in our body respond, helping the central nervous system to regulate the resistance of blood vessels and the hearts contractions. However, for those who already have muscle or joint pain, expansion in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can irritate the already-sensitive areas.
Is Cold Or Humidity Worse For Arthritis
Anecdotally, doctors who treat people with arthritis, as well as researchers who study factors that affect arthritis symptoms, hear over and over that certain kinds of weather namely, cold fronts, where theres a drop in barometric pressure and an increase in humidity makes peoples arthritis pain and swelling
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More About Living With Arthritis
Some of the worst states to live in for arthritis are those with poor access to healthcare, high humidity, and dramatic seasonal changes.
If your daily struggles with arthritis do find you moving to beautiful sunny Phoenix, get in touch with Arizona Pain. Our team is committed to helping people learn more about living with arthritis. Keep up with the latest tips for living with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions on our pain management blog.
The Grand Canyon state is one of the best places to live with arthritis, and wed love to help you manage your pain! Get in touch with our team to learn more about our approach.
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Managing Arthritis During The Summer
Life with arthritis is certainly a struggle, but its crucial to find ways to reduce symptoms and keep living life.
One way you can help to manage your symptoms is by understanding how things outside of your control can exacerbate arthritis pain. Once you understand it, take the proper action to protect yourself. For many people, arthritis symptoms seem to get worse in the summer months, and theres a good reason for that.
Keep reading to learn more about arthritis pain in the hot summer months and what you can do to help alleviate it.
Summer and arthritis explained.
If your arthritis seems to flare up in summer, youre not alone, and you can blame the heat and humidity. The hotter it is outside, the more your body will be susceptible to swelling. The more prone to swelling you are, the more pain you will have.
Research shows that barometric pressure can also have some impact. The pressure changes outside can cause your joints to be more sensitive to pain. When the pressure changes, your joints will often feel tighter and stiff, creating a vicious cycle of swelling and pain.
If you live in coastal North Carolina, there is no avoiding the heat and humidity, so the best thing you can do it educate and protect yourself.
Hydration is key.
It is important to stay extra hydrated during the summer for these reasons, water helps keep cartilage soft and hydrated, and it promotes healthy blood volume, which allows nutrients to move through your blood and into your joints.
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Ethics Approval And Consent To Participate
All animal handling and experimental procedures were performed following local ethical committees and the National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. All efforts were made to minimize animal suffering and to reduce the number of animals used. All procedures performed in this study involving animals were approved by the Ethics Committee of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University.
The Best Places To Live With Arthritis: 14 Great Options
For anyone living with osteoarthritis, there are many challenges they face daily. From tying their shoes to making trips to the store, every task can be made harder by the joint pain of this wear-and-tear condition. One potential solution? Finding one of the best places to live with arthritis in the United States, which can make your life easier and may just ease your pain. Here are the 14 best cities to live in with arthritis .
Heat Humidity And Common Pain Conditions
During the summer months, especially in Texas, many chronic pain conditions are affected by humidity and heat.
- Arthritis. One study suggests nearly 5% of older people with osteoarthritis claim that hot weather impacts their joint pain. Individuals with inflammatory arthritis experience pain when temperature and humidity rise due to the way joint tissue. Joint tissue expands and contracts when temperature changes and humidity increases, therefore triggering pain in those with inflammatory arthritis.
Arthritis pain may arise from inflammatory rheumatologic disorders, damage from injuries or osteoarthritis caused by regular wear and tear. In many patients, it is associated with nerve pain. It may also occur in people with gastrointestinal disorders.
Treatments for Arthritis/Rheumatologic Pain include:
Do You Suffer From Arthritis Or Other Chronic Pain Conditions
At Riverside Pain Physicians, we are committed to helping our patients live a more pain-free quality of life, regardless of whats causing your symptoms. Our skilled physicians are highly experienced in treating pain that results from all types of medical conditions.
We are dedicated to relieving your discomfort with compassionate, individualized care and state-of-the-art technologies for pain relief.
If you suffer from chronic pain, let us help to ease your suffering reach out to us today at 904.389.1010, or to schedule an appointment online.
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Utilize The Tools Around You
- During the summer I stay inside the house all the time with the AC set at 68 degrees the struggle is real.
- I stay in AC or I become very lethargic, achy and flu like. Other than AC, when it gets too hot I try to run cold water over my wrists and hands for relief.
- I keep a mist sprayer in the fridge with a few drops of Peppermint essential oil, just shake well, and chillwhen I get really hot, I just mist myself.
- I apply cold packs to my joints that are hot or stiff to bring some relief and cool down.
- I have ceiling fans to keep me cool.
- I use ice packs on the back of my neck and it really cools me down.
- I open windows and turn on fans.
Many of you shared how important it can be to use cooling systems or tools at home or work. Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, fans, ice packs, or even wet towels may all provide relief when humidity and high temperatures take their toll.
What Does Past Research Say About Weather And Arthritis Pain
The question of whether theres a link between weather and aches and pains has been studied extensively. While a definitive answer is nearly impossible to provide because its hard to prove a negative researchers have been unable to make a strong case for a strong connection.
For example, a 2014 study in Australia found no link between back pain and rain, temperature, humidity, or air pressure. This study collected data regarding features of the weather at the time of first symptoms, and compared it to the weather a week and a month before. But, an earlier study found that among 200 patients followed for three months, knee pain increased modestly when temperature fell or barometric pressure rose.
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Looking For More Information On Keeping Warm
Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.
Tips For Dealing With The Heat
Luckily, there are a couple of ways individuals with arthritis can reduce the impact the heat has on their joints and makes the pain and discomfort worse than it needs to be. Heres what you can do:
- Stay indoors Spending time inside, with air conditioning, will help regulate the temperature and humidity levels that can affect your arthritis. Too much time outdoors can lead to overwhelming amounts of inflammation of your joints.
- Stay hydrated Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Sugary and caffeinated beverages can actually make you more dehydrated and wont help you stay cool and refreshed.
- Go for a swim One of the many joys of summer is taking a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Swimming is a great, low-impact exercise to keep your body fit, and as well is a fun and beneficial way to relieve some pressure on your joints.
- Wear loose, natural fiber clothes Wearing clothes that are loose and made of cotton or linen allow your body to breathe, evaporate sweat easier, and stay cooler.
Arthritis doesnt have to ruin your summer!
Orthopaedist in Connecticut
If you suffer from arthritis, have an injury, or are in pain, give the Orthopaedic Specialty Group a call at 337-2600 and let us know how we can help you!
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Why Does Cold Weather Affect Arthritis
The scientific community is still somewhat divided when it comes to whether or not cold temperatures can exacerbate arthritis pain. There isnt much conclusive evidence, but some studies show that there may be a link between low barometric pressure, high humidity, and joint swelling.
Many believe that a drop in barometric pressure, which occurs when a cold front is approaching, causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. A recent study revealed a significant yet modest relationship between pain and relative humidity, pressure, and wind speed. According to the study results, the worst combination of weather variables increases the odds of experiencing pain by around 20 percent in comparison to the average day.
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What Types Of Dehumidifiers Work Best For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are two main types of dehumidifiers: refrigerant and desiccant. Most home units are refrigerant dehumidifiers, since desiccant units use an absorbent material thats best for treating low humidity areas.
The bigger question when it comes to choosing a dehumidifier is the size of the area you are treating, and how humid it is where you live. You may want to purchase a larger machine if you:
- live in a very humid area
- are treating an area near laundry machines
- have multiple people regularly using the rooms where the unit is located
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