My Experience With Barometric Pressure Change
The first time I noticed the impact that barometric pressure could wreak was when I was while living in Denver, Colorado. Achy, upon waking up, I slowly moved from my bed to the living room. As the day progressed, my pain increased.
My joints felt like they were being pried open with pliers. My skin was on fire. My muscles felt like they were pulling away from my body, and fatigue held my body hostage. Unable to withstand the pain, I began praying for it to end.
Then without notice, thunderstruck loudly, and rain began to fall. As quickly as the storm hit, my pain began reducing, and within a few minutes, I felt good as new. After 18 months of feeling like I was dying with every storm that made its way over the Front Range, my body needed a break.
A Look To The Future And Developing New Treatments
Professor Will Dixon, who led the study, explains the results could be important for patients in the future for two reasons:
Given we can forecast the weather, it may be possible to develop a pain forecast knowing the relationship between weather and pain.
He added, It will also give scientists who are interested in understanding the mechanisms of pain much needed data that might ultimately open the door to new treatments.
Its important to listen to your individual needs and find self-management techniques that work for you. Find out more about our research.
The published Cloudy paper is available to view here.
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What If The Weather Really Does Affect My Arthritis
If you still feel like certain weather conditions or changes in the weather are affecting the symptoms of your arthritis, there are things you can try to ease the pain.
For example, many of my patients find it helps to keep as warm as possible. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol taken regularly often help too.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ease arthritic symptoms and provides the extra benefit of increasing your body temperature .
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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.
Summer Humidity & Arthritis Pain
Similarly, many arthritis sufferers report feeling more arthritis pain when the air is filled with humidity. This could be because the bodys tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand when humidity rises and barometric pressure drops.4
Some studies also show that high humidity levels can cause sweating and dehydration which can make the blood thicker, which increases blood pressure in the blood vessels and makes the body work more to pump blood through the body.5,6 Humid days can also cause the body to become dehydrated, which can decrease the concentration of fluid around the joints and create more joint pain.6
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New Research Indicates Links Between Weather And Arthritis Pain
Many people living with arthritis have told us that they experience a change in their symptoms due to the weather. We know that everyones experience of arthritis is different and that for some people, weather and temperature will have the opposite effect on their pain levels, than it does for another person.
Research published today by Manchester University and funded by us, indicates that people with long-term health conditions can be up to 20 per cent more likely to suffer from pain on days that are humid and windy with low atmospheric pressure.
Caring For Joints In Bad Weather With Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that has periods of flares and remission. People living with psoriatic arthritis over time learn what triggers their symptoms and can incorporate strategies to manage their pain and swelling, indicating the understanding that comes with experience. Once the pre-flare state has been recognized as such, people living with psoriatic arthritis learn to adapt their activity level and lower their stress. Management of flares involves self-medication, self-help, resting, seeking medical attention, avoiding things or alternatively, just continuing on.2 There are also several strategies specific to weather-induced flares, including:manage
Planning ahead People living with chronic conditions like psoriatic arthritis that are influenced by the weather can watch or listen to the weather report to have an idea of what to expect and provide themselves time to prepare.3
Adding layers Especially for cold weather, adding layers of clothing to provide more warmth can improve joint flexibility.3
Using the warmth and comfort of water Painful, swollen joints can often be relieved in a warm bath, which is relaxing and can be great for gentle stretching. The Arthritis Foundation recommends soaking for about 20 minutes. Adding sea salts or Epsom salt to the water can also ease muscle aches. Swimming or water aerobics in a heated pool can be both great exercise and soothing to joints that are inflamed from psoriatic arthritis.1
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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.
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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Why Does The Heat Affect Arthritis
Our joints have sensory nerves that respond to changes in temperature. When the temperature and humidity levels go up, the joints fluid levels can increase and result in increased inflammation, pain, and discomfort. You may also experience stiffness or laxity in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making it difficult to move around.
Are You Weather Sensitive
Some people are more sensitive to weather than others. So you may feel more stiff and achy in the cold more than your neighbor. That doesnt either of you is wrong, it just means that we dont perceive things the same.
A 2014 study of people with osteoarthritis published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders asked participants if and how weather influenced their pain. Of the 712 people who answered the survey, 469 said they were weather sensitive. It turns out that weather-sensitive people with OA experience more joint pain overall than their non-weather-sensitive counterparts.
A 2011 article published in European Journal of Pain found similar results in people with rheumatoid arthritis . The researchers looked at nine previously published studies of people with RA and concluded pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than in others, and that patients react in different ways to the weather.
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Are There Other Things I Can Do To Help My Arthritis Pain
Yes. Making sure that you dress appropriately for your activity will help. If you are going for a walk, wear comfortable, layered clothing. A shirt with a sweater and maybe a light jacket would be a good choice.
This will help you stay warm and if the weather changes you can easily put on or remove articles of clothing with ease. One heavy item like a wool sweater might not keep you as warm as different layers of fabric. Also, make sure that you are wearing supportive clothing for your body movements and shoes. That might mean wearing compression socks, stockings, or gloves.
During the winter, some people might wear compression gloves and then mittens over them so that their fingers are kept together and warm within the mittens. Well-fitting shoes or boots will help keep you steady on your feet. During colder winter months, you can lose a lot of heat through the top of your head. Wearing a hat will help keep the heat from escaping when you are outside. If you must go out in winter weather, make sure you take your time.
If you occasionally use a cane to assist in walking, make sure you have it with you. Even areas known for warm weather can occasionally have rain, snow, sleet, and ice. Walking with a cane can help you steady yourself, especially if it is windy outside.
Can You Prevent Arthritis Flare
Anyone with arthritis will tell you that planning ahead to avoid flare-ups is key. According to the Arthritis Foundation, a solid prevention plan is one of the best ways to manage your arthritis and avoid flare-ups.
People with weather-sensitive arthritis cant control the weather, but they can learn to prepare better for certain weather conditions and the symptoms that may accompany those changes. Here are a few things to consider:
- Keep an eye on weather conditions for the upcoming days and weeks in your area, if keeping tabs on the forecast feels genuinely helpful to you.
- Try to avoid being in harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, for long periods of time.
- Dress in warm, dry clothing when the weather is cold.
- Dress in cool, loose clothing when the weather is hot and humid.
- Adjust the temperature inside your home to be neutral , neither too hot nor too cold.
Outside of planning around the weather, its also important to have a prevention plan for any other triggers that can lead to a flare-up in your symptoms. So, if youre someone whose arthritis is negatively affected by things such as infection, illness, overexertion, or even emotional stress, your plan might also include:
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Why Does Arthritis Hurt When It Rains
Arthritis is a common ailment effecting more than 50 million adults, and is the leading cause of disability in America. There are different types of arthritis like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, but essentially arthritis represents joint pain and joint inflammation. Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion, and will come and go. The progression of symptoms is what begins to make daily activities like climbing stairs more difficult, and may eventually lead to permanent joint changes. But why does the weather affect arthritis and joint pain?
How Can Weather Can Affect Arthritis
In 2019, the Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study, led by consultant rheumatologist Professor Will Dixon at the University of Manchester, assessed how weather affected more than 13,000 people in the UK with long-term health conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Participants used a smartphone app to record their daily symptoms and thing that affected their pain levels (such as sleep patterns and daily exercise, while GPS on their phone provided accurate weather reporting.
The study, funded by Versus Arthritis, found that damp and windy days with low atmospheric pressure increased the chances of experiencing more pain than normal by around 20 per cent. Barometric pressure may affect your joints more than humidity, rainfall and temperature.
According to the Met Office, high pressure tends to cause fine, warm weather, while low pressure can lead to prolonged rainfall and flooding.
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Does The Weather Affect Arthritis
The impact of the weather on the symptoms of arthritis has been debated for many years.
As a rheumatologist, patients with many different forms of arthritis come to me and say their symptoms are always worse in the damp and cold, or even that they can tell when the weather is about to change by the way their joints feel.
Beyond damp and cold weather, patients also report that changes in barometric pressure seem to coincide with worsening of the pain and stiffness in their joints.
If you suffer from joint pain, these complaints might sound familiar. Yet despite how common they are, theres still no definitive evidence that the link between weather and arthritis pain exists.
Lifestyle Changes In Cold Weather
Lets face it. Even the most outdoorsy of us sometimes prefer a warm cozy fireplace to being outdoors. As such, we tend to slow down a bit during the winter months. This decrease in physical activity negatively impacts those with arthritis, so its no coincidence that those of us who prefer the sunshine to the snow may decide to cool it until the sun comes out in spring.
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Good Nutrition Helps Decrease Arthritis Pain
Ensure that you have well-balanced meals with a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and that can help reduce arthritis pain. Vitamin D may be in short supply during the winter months, but you can still get it through a supplement or fortified foods.
Does cold weather affect arthritis? You bet it does. Cano Health offers personalized patient care and a proactive approach to your health needs. If you are looking for health professionals who care for and treat people with arthritis, contact Cano Health.
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Studies Look At Perception Vs Reality
In one study of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, participants were asked directly if weather affected their condition. And, perhaps not surprisingly, many said that yes, in fact, it does.
A lot of people perceive weather as having an effect on their condition, says Ruthberg. Most of the time people will complain that colder weather or damper weather makes them feel worse than sunnier, warmer, drier weather.
Since perception doesnt necessarily equal reality, researchers have approached it from another angle and had people keep diaries about their pain or stiffness over a month or longer, then matched the reports up with official weather data.
Some of them have shown some correlation, but it hasnt been seen in every single study, and it has not been shown to be just a huge, huge factor, Ruthberg says.
A 1960 study did lend some support to a weather connection. After University of Pennsylvania researcher Joseph Hollander monitored 12 arthritis patients in a climate-controlled chamber over several weeks, most, he said, felt worse when they were subjected to a combination of increased humidity and falling barometric pressure.
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Can Weather Make Joints Ache
Do bad weather and changes in barometric pressure aggravate rheumatoid arthritis?
Remember that aunt who claimed her aching joints signaled a storm front on the horizon?
Many rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have long believed that cold, damp conditions or changes in barometric pressure can aggravate their symptoms, which can include pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints.
But despite a fairly large number of studies examining the impact of weather on problems related to rheumatoid arthritis, results remain inconclusive, says Andrew Ruthberg, MD, a rheumatologist at Rush University Medical Center.
I dont think theres any strong answer to the question, he says.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that frequently targets wrists, fingers, knees, feet and ankles. While we know it can occur in people of all ages, and that it affects more women than men, the precise role of weather remains up in the air.
Headaches And Migraine Attacks
âWhat we found in our studies was the environment is probably one of the most important triggers for migraine attacks, â said Dr. Vince Martin, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, during the 2019 Migraine World Summit.
Dr. Martin is one of the leading world experts in migraine triggers like low barometric pressure, stress, neck pain, and food. He presented the latest research at the 2019 American Headache Society conference to over 1300 doctors and headache experts.
âAbout 30 to 50% of all Migraine patients think they have a weather trigger, but I would argue that because of the multitude of triggers with weather that many people may not even recognize they have a weather trigger.â
Normal barometric pressure changes are one of the most commonly reported weather-related Migraine triggers. Migraine attacks are thought to be triggered by environmental or biological changes, and that includes changing atmospheric pressure.
Dr. Cynthia Armand explains, âOur head is made up of pockets of air that we call sinuses. Usually, those pockets of air are at equilibrium with the atmospheric pressure. When thereâs a change in that atmospheric pressure, it creates a change in what youâre experiencing in your head and whatâs going on in the air around you. That shift is a Migraine trigger.â
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