Does Bad Weather Really Affect Joint Pain
The answer to this question depends a lot upon who you ask. If you ask certain researchers, theyll tell you theyve found no evidence of joint pain getting worse with rain or other weather changes. Still other researchers have found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded to a rise in arthritis painas did a drop in barometric pressure.
In our experience, the patient knows best whether or not weather affects their joint pain, and the vast majority of them say it does. Patients with arthritis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and other joint pain disorders report that their pain worsens when the weather takes a turn. What could explain this?
Possible explanations for pain affected by weather changes.
There are no research studies that have proven a definite cause-effect relationship between weather and increased joint or body pain. Still there are several theories, one being that people with arthritis may be more sensitive to changes in the barometric pressure. This could be caused by the fact that cartilage which usually cushions the bones in a joint becomes worn away, exposing nerves that are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure.
Another theory posits that barometric pressure might make tendons, muscles and scar tissue expand and contract, causing pain in joint that are afflicted with arthritis. Lower barometric pressure can also thicken the fluid inside joints, making them feel stiffer when they are moved.
So what can you do about bad-weather pain?
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.
How Might Weather Cause Pain
Its typical for joint pain to start even before the first raindrops fall, says David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center and past president of the American College of Rheumatology.
If you really listened carefully to Grandma or someone who had arthritis, they actually told you it was going to rain, he says. They said, Its going to rain today, and more likely than not, they were usually correct.
How to explain?
Theres no full agreement among scientists that weather causes pain, or if a specific mechanism is at fault, Jamison says. But there are plausible theories.
One leading theory points to changes in air pressure. Although many people say that their pain worsens with damp, rainy weather, research has shown that its not the cold, wind, rain, or snow, Borenstein says. The thing that affects people most is barometric pressure.
Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us.
If you imagine the tissues surrounding the joints to be like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding.
But barometric pressure often drops before bad weather sets in. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint. Its very microscopic and we can hardly notice, except that we have these sensations, Jamison says.
Also Check: Mayo Clinic Joint Pain
Finding A Climate That Works For Me And My Psa
I returned to Arizona. This is the state that everyone says is the best for a person with arthritis. And it was, for a moment. We moved back in the spring when the weather was warm and calm. I felt human again and had hope of not losing so much time to weather-related pain.
Then came Arizonas famous summer monsoon storms. The combination of extreme heat with high humidity, hurricane-strength winds, and rain kicked my rear. Unable to function, I would spend most of my summer inside writhing in pain. Even though Arizona offered a drier climate, the severity of change when storm fronts moved in was more than my body could tolerate.
Moving to Southern California a decade ago was a welcome change. There is always a breeze. Living an hour inland from the coast has its perks. Morning marine layers that take hours for the sun to burn off keep temperatures cooler. Instead of only having a few good weeks, I only suffer from a significant pressure flare for a few weeks per year.
Barometric Pressure And Its Effect On Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very uncomfortable disease. A condition in which the body suffers from pain in the joints and other parts, its symptoms often appear at random times but is it really random? How can the weather more specifically the Barometric Pressure have an effect on this disease? We will explain how are these two seemingly unrelated topics connected and how can you help with these symptoms, but first, lets see what is really rheumatoid arthritis.
Also Check: Ways To Relieve Arthritis Pain In Hands
Boost Circulation And Decrease Inflammation To Better Your Body
The Gladiator Therapeutics Far Infrared Device uses far infrared technology to improve blood circulation and safely reduce inflammation and pain. By improving the bodys circulation, the Gladiator Device provides relief from symptoms associated with chronic muscle and nerve pain and from inflammatory diseases such as Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Better blood flow can also speed the healing of wounds and prevent or eliminate general aches and pains. Indeed, when the circulatory system is running efficiently, the benefits extend beyond physical health to mental health by improving sleep and reducing stress.
NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.
How To Deal With The Heat
If you experience pain during the summertime, here are some tips to beat the heat and reduce your pain:
- Stay Indoors: If the humidity and extreme heat causes flare ups in your pain, spending time in an air-conditioned area will help regulate your body temperature. Too much time outside can affect your joints and make your anti-inflammatory medication less effective.
- Drink Water: Drinking water and staying hydrated to maintain electrolyte levels and fluids is crucial to avoiding pain that comes from dehydration.
- Wear Loose Clothing: Wearing linen or light cotton clothing keeps your body cool by allowing it to breath. Tight clothes or heavy fabrics do not allow sweat to evaporate or keep your body cool.
- Swim: Swimming is a great way to alleviate joint pain and to cool off in the summer months. Low-impact cardio like water exercises are great for those who have arthritis or chronic joint pain.
Also Check: Is Ice Good For Arthritis Pain
Also Check: Arthritis Symptoms In Arms
Arthritis And Barometric Pressure
Ask anyone who suffers from arthritis, and theyâll tell you certain types of weather make their symptoms worse. Some swear that cold or wet days worsen their joint aches and pains, and they feel some sense of relief when warm, dry weather returns.
Others say their arthritis fluctuates with changes in barometric pressure, the pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere on the earth. When barometric pressure is low or high, their symptoms worsen. Is there a relationship between arthritis and barometric pressure changes?
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
Recommended Reading: Arthritis Attack Symptoms
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.
Also Check: Living With Arthritis In Back
Does Barometric Pressure Affect Sinuses
Shifts in barometric pressure can also trigger pain and discomfort for those with sinusitis. This can result in sudden, painful feeling of pressure, sinus headaches, and facial pain, along with congestion. When such symptoms linger, the sinuses can become inflamed and blocked, which can lead to infection.
Barometric Pressure And Arthritis: Is There An Association
According to a study published in Anesthesiology News in 2005, changes in barometric pressure do influence arthritis symptoms. After studying 205 arthritis sufferers across the nation via a randomized, controlled study, they found that arthritis pain increased with decreases in temperature and with a rise in barometric pressure. Interestingly, barometric pressure goes up on dry, sunny days when you would intuitively expect arthritis sufferers to experience less pain, not more.
Why would increases in barometric pressure worsen arthritis pain? One theory is that rises in barometric pressure increase pressure in the joint spaces leading to worsening inflammation and pain.
Not all studies show an association between barometric pressure and arthritis. Some suggest that barometric pressure has little or no effect on joint symptoms in people with arthritis, but many of these studies are small and believed to be flawed, according to experts who still believe that barometric pressure plays a role in arthritis pain.
Other studies suggest that itâs actually decreases in barometric pressure that trigger arthritis pain. A drop in barometric pressure could cause tissues that are inflamed by arthritis to expand even more, thereby aggravating the pain. This would support claims by people that their arthritis symptoms worsen when itâs cold, rainy or damp outside.
You May Like: Mild Arthritic Changes
Headaches And Migraine Attacks
“What we found in our studies was the environment is probably one of the most important triggers for migraine attacks, ” 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.
“About 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.”
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, “Our 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 there’s a change in that atmospheric pressure, it creates a change in what you’re experiencing in your head and what’s going on in the air around you. That shift is a Migraine trigger.”
Does Barometric Pressure Affect Nerve Pain
Nerve pain especially in your hands and feet increases as your circulation decreases. The change in barometric pressure due to temperature drops intensifies pressure on the nerves, which send pain signals to the brain. Your perception of pain is increased as the nerve signals slow down because of the pressure.
You May Like: Ra Hand Pain
The Effect Of Weather On Arthritis
The Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study, led by consultant rheumatologist Professor Will Dixon is the worlds first smartphone-based study to investigate how weather affects long-term health conditions including arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Thousands of people with differing health conditions across the UK, from Orkney to the Isles of Scilly, took part in the study over 15 months. Predominantly, participants were people living with arthritis.
Participants were asked to record their daily symptoms and other factors that affected their pain levels with an app on their smartphones, while GPS in their phones provided accurate weather reporting.
A sample of 2,658 people who recorded their experiences on most days for six months or more showed that people experienced greater discomfort on humid and windy days, whereas dry days were least likely to be painful.
Read Also: Is Broccoli Good For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Changes In Barometric Pressure Affects Pain
Not only do changes in barometric pressure cause storms to bubble up across the radar, but it actually can change your blood pressure and increase joint pain. While this may be further impacted by precipitation and changes in temperature, there is something to be said about the way atmospheric pressure impacts our bodies.
According to Mother Nature Network, changes in barometric pressure may cause the following health issues:
You May Like: What To Do For Arthritis In The Shoulder
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis Pain In Hands
Why Does Cold Rain Make You Hurt
Scientists dont know for sure why changes in weather can make some people hurt, or why it affects some people more than others. But they do have a few theories.
Dr. Starz believes at least some of the increased pain comes from decreased activity. We know that physical activity relieves arthritis pain. And when the weather is unpleasant, people tend to hole up inside. That inactivity can lead to more pain.
Other scientists offer physical reasons behind the pain. Changes in barometric pressure can cause expansion and contraction of tendons, muscles, bones and scar tissues, resulting in pain in the tissues that are affected by arthritis. Low temperatures may also increase the thickness of joint fluids, making them stiffer and perhaps more sensitive to pain during movement.
Dr. Starz agrees, The mind-body connection is strong. If warm sunny weather makes you feel better psychologically, youll probably feel better physically as well.
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!
Read Also: Rheumatoid Factor 17