Opportunities For Activity Year
Bright, warm weather offers plenty of opportunity for year-round outdoor activity, a crucial part of managing osteoarthritis. While aches and pains can tempt a person to take it easy, over and again research shows that movement helps in painful joints.
Pro-tip: In colder but still arthritis-friendly cities like Denver, bundling up is key to staying active outside year round.
Managing Your Arthritis In Warmer Weather
Weve been lucky to enjoy some warm days recently and while most of us love a bit of sunshine, the warmer weather can affect some people with arthritis.
People with arthritis often say that they can predict the weather based on how their joints feel. Some notice their pain and stiffness flares up in the cold and wet winter months, while others find hot and humid summer weather can make symptoms worse.
Dr Alastair Dickson, GP and health economist with an interest in rheumatology and arthritis, and trustee of the Primary Care Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Medicine Society, says that some people are more sensitive to the weather than others.
It is unknown why weather affects arthritis pain, he says. One theory is that people are less active in cold, damp weather and keeping active is known to help relieve arthritis pain.
An alternative theory is that changes in barometric pressure affect the pain you feel. Temperature sensitivity is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and extremes in temperature, whether it be hot or cold, can trigger flare-ups.
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 .
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So What To Do To Prevent The Aches And Pains
During winter dressing warmly is the key. Paying special attention to the head, hands and feet, as majority of heat is lost from the body’s extremities. Some helpful winter dressing tips include:
- Wear loose layers when going outdoors. Layers traps body heat to keep you warm.
- Wear mittens or gloves to protect your hands.
- Wear a hat or beanie to protect your head.
- Wear a scraf to protect your neck.
- Wear socks and waterproof boots to avoid getting feet wet or damp.
The cold and damp weather can also cause changes to peoples exercise plans. We have an instinct during winter to hibernate however, a lack of physical activity will cause joints to become stiff. Exercise eases arthritis pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. To manage arthritic conditions during the cooler months, individuals need to plan physical activities that are easy to do during winter, such as:
- Walking indoors, such as around shopping centres
- Household chores, like vacuuming
- Swimming indoors, such as Hydrotherapy
- Taking an aerobics or yoga class
- Listening to music and dancing
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Stretching or doing light exercises while watching TV
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Anything that keeps you moving works.
So when your joints start to warn you of miserable weather ahead, plan a warm routine of indoor exercise, rustle up your cosy clothing, or book yourself a two month holiday to a warmer destination!
Thriving In The Winter
This doctor knew I lived up north and was curious how I handled those northern winters. My answers were similar. For the most part, I thrived. Even during the worst part of my flare, I did so much better in a northern cold than a southern cool.
Here’s where I left feeling like an oddball. He responded with, Thats so interesting, and added, My other patients do best in the heat and humidity. And then he said, Maybe you arent meant to live in Florida?
Its as if he was reading my mind. I want nothing more than to live up north again. However, this conversation also left me wondering why I was so different.
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People With Arthritis Often Notice A Connection Between Humidity Or Temperature And Joint Pain Symptoms Heres What You Need To Know
Elisabetta Mercuri knows when its going to rain. My joints get achy, especially in my hands, she says. And when its cold and wet, the symptoms are even worse. It almost feels like theres ice in my fingers because they are so stiff, says Elisabetta, who has lived with psoriatic arthritis for close to four decades. And as Ive gotten older, my joints feel the weather changes even more.
Elisabetta is far from alone: Patients often say they can tell when its going to rain based on how their joints feel, says Anne R. Bass, MD, rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Humidity seems to be the biggest culprit, but we actually dont know why.
Theres the rub: People with arthritis often notice a connection between humidity or temperature and joint pain symptoms, and may even report it to their doctors. Its a complaint Brett Smith, DO, a rheumatologist with East Tennessee Medical Group, hears often.
Patients note that certain weather changes tend to produce more stiffness, more aching and more pain, he says. They feel their body is a weather machine that can predict when its going to rain or when a cold front is coming.
More recently, our parent organization, the Global Healthy Living Foundation, presented findings from an observational study at the American College of Rheumatologys annual meeting in 2018. Results showed a correlation between various weather patterns and peoples self-reported symptoms, but the link was not strong.
The Best Climate For Arthritis Sufferers
Arthritis is a common disease that affects over 46 million people, or one in five adults. They are many different types, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis. The main symptoms include pain, stiffness in the joints, fatigue, and swelling. The disease can make everyday tasks painful or nearly impossible. Though arthritis can be controlled through a number of different treatments and medications, the climate where the arthritis sufferer lives can also impact the disease.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Does The Weather Really Affect Arthritis Pain
In south Louisiana, we are well aware of the fact that the heat and humidity affects us physically. It makes us sweat more and, as many women will attest, can ruin your hairstyle. Can it also make arthritis pain worse? Many of us have had older relatives who claimed that they could predict when it was going to rain by a flare up of joint pain. Is it scientifically possible for the weather to affect joint pain, or are there other factors at play? And if the weather does affect joint pain, would moving to a better climate help?
Lets discuss the research on the relation between weather and joint pain, and whether moving will help you in the long run.
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Visit The Experts At Prima Care
Perhaps the best way to avoid arthritis pain this winter is to visit our specialists at Prima CARE. Our rheumatoid arthritis specialists can help you get the right treatment for your arthritis, including arthritis pain relief medication, easing your pain and making this time of year more enjoyable.
Plus, if you havent already, its important to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines. As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis makes you more susceptible to contagious illnesses like these. Plus, people with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of developing complications from these illnesses, making them even more dangerous and even more worth avoiding. Make getting vaccinated a priority this winter to help keep yourself safe.
Make this winter and holiday season as easy and comfortable as possible take care of yourself by staying warm, reducing stress, eating well, staying active, and visiting your doctors at Prima CARE! Schedule online or call -375-0504 for more information!
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Is The Summer Heat Affecting Your Arthritis
For those of us living above the equator, summer is finally here and the heat & humidity seems to be getting worse. Weather experts predict that 2015 could be the hottest year on record with heat waves are already creating havoc in places like Europe & Asia. For those suffering from arthritis or chronic joint pain, the summer weather can be unbearable. Our joints contain sensory nerves that continuously respond to the changing weather. Temperature and humidity can alter the level of fluid that fills your joints resulting in inflammation and pain and it can also affect the stiffness or laxity in your tendons, muscles and ligaments.
Here are some tips on how to deal with the heat:
Heat & Humidity can be a nuisance, but dont let it stop you from enjoying the summer season!
We would love to hear from you! How do you keep your arthritis symptoms at bay and stay cool in the summer? Any advice for others?
The Answer Isn’t So Simple
From then on, Ive been left wondering, can warm weather trigger psoriatic arthritis? My answer to this question is both yes and no. Glad we cleared that up!
Rather, the answer isnt so simple. There is such a spectrum for weather – hot, warm, humid, cold, or dry. I didnt arrive at this conclusion easily.
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Does Research Matter When You Have Personal Experience
Thats a fair question. And its something Ive even heard in TV commercials about headache medicines: I dont care about the research. I just know what works for me. But its worth remembering that humans have a remarkable tendency to remember when two things occur or change together , but remember less when things do not occur together. That rainy day when you felt no better or worse is unlikely to be so notable that you remember it. If you rely solely on memory rather than on more rigorous, data-based evidence, its easy to conclude a link exists where, in fact, none does.
Which Weather Conditions Are Worst
If you combine results of the various studies, the general consensus is that cold, wet weather is the worst for inciting arthritis pain. Terence Starz, MD, rheumatologist at University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Pittsburgh, may have summed it up best with this quip he shared from one of his patients, The frost is on the pumpkin and the pain is back in my joints.
Changes in barometric pressure a measure that refers to the weight of the air seem to be more important for pain levels than the actual barometric pressure. Meaning that either a cold front or warm front coming in can ramp up the ache in your fingers. But once the weather has settled in, your pain will even out.
A 2015 study of 810 people with OA published in Journal of Rheumatology found significant links between humidity, temperature and joint pain. The effect of humidity on pain was stronger when the weather was colder. In essence, they found that wet, winter days are no fun.
A 2015 study of 133 RA patients published in Rheumatology International found that their disease activity was lower when their days were sunny and dry.
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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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Lack Of Adequate Water May Intensify Joint Pain And Other Ra Symptoms
My rheumatoid arthritis symptoms definitely increase when I dont drink enough water, or if Im in extreme heat, says Eileen Davidson, a rheumatoid arthritis patient, advocate, and author of the Chronic Eileen blog. I tend to feel more stiffness in my joints and muscles. I have a spike in fatigue, sluggishness, and definite increase in cognitive dysfunction.
Water plays a vital role in helping different parts of the body function at their best. A lack of liquids can increase inflammation and lessen the amount of fluid that cushions joints. The good news: Simple measures can help you avoid the negative effects of dehydration.
Heres what you need to know about how dehydration affects someone with RA.
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What Should I Expect From Infrared Therapy
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Many Patients Claim Theres A Connection Between Weather And Arthritis
Though researchers are not sure exactly why arthritis pain might increase with weather changes, they suspect that certain conditions in the atmosphere, such as a drop in barometric pressure, can increase swelling in the joint capsule leading to pain.
Barometric pressure refers to the weight of the air around us. In good weather, barometric pressure is high. This pressure pushes against the body from the outside, helping to keep tissues including the tissues that surround our joints from expanding. In bad or stormy weather, barometric pressure drops so that there is less pressure to push against the body. This allows tissues around the joints to expand, putting pressure on the joints and increasing pain.
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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:
Problematic Weather Conditions For Joint Pain
Whenever its cold, rainy or humid, your joint pain may flare up. Of course, these weather conditions are often linked and difficult to tease out. However, we can categorize them into four categories of possible causes:
- Low barometric pressure: This is the air pressure, or the weight of the air above us. Theories suggest low barometric pressure can swell up joints.
- Low temperatures: Cold temperature is also often cited for joint pain. Changes in temperature may affect your joint fluids in particular.
- High humidity/precipitation: Humidity and precipitation, especially rain, is commonly cited as well.
- Changes in conditions: Some researchers also think that changes are to blame, not the conditions themselves.
Lets take a look at how these four weather conditions may affect your joints on a medical level.
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Cold Weather Effects On Arthritis
People with arthritis say that the warmer weather is more lenient to their symptoms as opposed to the cold weather.
- Changes In Humidity during the cold weather, there is a lot of damage done to the bone cells and cartilage and this causes cold weather arthritis symptoms to flare up. Also, cold weather increases sensitivity to joints. This intensifies the pain associated with arthritis.
- Pain Sensitivityâ in general, your body becomes more sensitive during the cold season because of nerve stimulation. This means that people with arthritis have more sensitive and tender joints during the cold season. The flow of blood also increases in the cold season. This cause more blood to collect in the joints affected by arthritis and this causes swelling and redness.
- Reduction In Physical Activities physical activity matters a lot. In warmer seasons, most people are active but the activity decreases as temperatures drop. It becomes hard for one to exercise and keep active in cold seasons. Most people with arthritis suffer a flare-up of the symptoms because they are not as active in cold season as they are in warmer seasons. This stiffens their joints and causes the pain to worsen when they move.
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