Does Cold Weather Affect Arthritis
While there isnt a scientifically proven reason for why people often complain of arthritic pain during changing weather, there is something to be said about how weather affects our mood and our overall well-being. Arthritis and cold weather can cause your body to constrict.
This is because cold weather can cause blood to flow slower than when you are in warmer weather and more active. You use energy to keep your body warm and your joints are areas of the body that might be more inclined to be affected by lack of warmth.
Barometric pressure has been noted as a possible reason why people suffer from arthritis pain. When there is a change in atmospheric pressure, the tissues inside your body expand and that can trigger pain. Even a small change in barometric pressure can cause inflammation and pain.
What Temperature Is Best When Using Heat Therapy For Arthritis
When using moist heat therapy, make sure the temperature is not so hot that you burn your skin. Find a temperature that you can comfortably tolerate, whether using a bath, hot water bottle, or spa therapy.
You also need to give it time to work. Use the moist heat application for at least 15 minutes before exercise. Then use it again immediately following exercise. You can also use moist heat anytime you want additional relief from arthritis pain.
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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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?
Cold Weather And Joint Pain
In one study, which looked at 245 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it was found that older patients were more likely to report flare-ups during the colder weather.4
However, a more extensive analysis of nine studies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis failed to identify a link between the weather and pain.5
Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Arthritis
The Benefits Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles, as well as your immune system. You get most of your vitamin D from direct sunlight when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays.
According to Cancer Research UK, the length of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D depends on skin type, time of day or year, and where you are in the world.
There are no set guidelines on how much time is needed in the sun, but those with lighter skins may need just 10 minutes of sunlight every day in the UK, while those with darker skin may need around 25 minutes.
There are guidelines on vitamin D supplementation for everyone in the UK, says Professor Walker-Bone. But if youre worried about your vitamin D levels and joint pain, its important to get advice from your GP or rheumatology team. They can check your vitamin D levels, ideally in the winter months when they are likely to be lower.
Some people find their psoriasis gets better when theyre out in the sun, but more research is needed to see if sunlight helps psoriatic arthritis.
Natural sunlight can help skin psoriasis, but doesnt seem to help joint symptoms, says Professor WalkerBone. Many people with psoriatic arthritis dont have very bad skin, so PUVA treatment cant help.
How To Relieve Pain Caused By Arthritis
There are a few measures one can take to reduce joint stiffness and pain in the cold season when suffering from arthritis.
1. Dress Warmer
Covering your joints properly to provide insulation during the cold season can go a long way in relieving the pain. Scarves, socks, jackets and warm winter clothes can also be work. This ensures that body heat is not lost and that the joints do not stiffness from the cold. Also, wearing clothes that are right can help to bring down the inflammation. There are therapy gloves available in the market for specifically helping people suffering from arthritis.
2. Stay Active
For everyone, exercise and keeping active is important for their wellbeing. It is even more important for people with arthritis. A little light exercise can go a long way in ensuring that stiffness doesnt occur. Yoga, stretching and walking are considered to be enough exercises for people with arthritis.
Regular massages on affected joints are also recommended as they get the blood flowing and this keeps the joints warm.
3. Eating Nutritious Meals
Eating foods that offer the body the required nutrients also plays a major role when it comes to relieving symptoms of arthritis. Calcium and vitamin D are the essential nutrients required by people suffering from arthritis. Calcium helps to regenerate the bones while vitamin D absorbs the calcium.
4. Adapt Better Lifestyle Habits
5. See a Doctor
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What Is Cold Weather Arthritis
Arthritis is a term that means joint inflammation. This condition has become increasingly common in people in older age groups. Women are more likely to develop arthritis than men. Symptoms of this condition include tenderness of the joints, joint stiffness, chronic pain as well as redness and swelling of these joints. While it can occur in most joints in the body, it is most common in the shoulder joints, hip joints, spine, and knee joints. During the cold weather, the pain in these joints flares up and becomes unbearable. Some scientists have attributed this phenomenon to the changes in barometric pressure brought about by the cold weather. Others argue that it is caused by the constriction of the blood vessels by nerves to reduce heat and keep the body warm. The argument here is that the activation of the nerves is what leads to the increased pain.
Even so, there has been a lot of research done to find the connection between arthritis and the cold weather, but all of them are inconclusive. The most common types of arthritis include:
This is a type of arthritis that affects limbs joints. It occurs when there is continuous degeneration of tissues that cushion the joints between bones. When this cushion is not there, the bones swell and this causes pain during movement. This type of arthritis can also occur as a result of an injury.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
3. Psoriatic Arthritis
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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Climate Effects On Arthritis
The place in which a person with arthritis lives may affect their day to day pain and fatigue. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine in Argentina and Florida, sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis were affected by high humidity and high barometric pressure. Those with osteoarthritis were affected only by high humidity. The study concluded that those living in warm, dry climates had fewer flare ups of the disease, but the actual course the disease was not affected by climate. One reason a warm climate is helpful is because the person does not have to deal with snow and ice, which can make it difficult to get around. Cold weather may also make the joints feel more stiff.
Another benefit of living in a warm climate is that it is easier to remain active in consistently nice weather. This allows for more exercise, which may strengthen joints and decrease pain.
- The place in which a person with arthritis lives may affect their day to day pain and fatigue.
- One reason a warm climate is helpful is because the person does not have to deal with snow and ice, which can make it difficult to get 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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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
What Types Of Climates Are Best For Arthritis Sufferers
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by joint pain that can go into remission, osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is ever present. Joints are swollen, stiff, and painful, easing perhaps with activity but chronic and progressive without treatment.
For most arthritis sufferers, the best places to live with arthritis have climates that are warm and dry. While it may sound like an old wives tale that a person can predict the rain with an ache in their knee, it could actually be accurate. Cold, damp climates cause the tissues in the body to expand. This expansion can place more pressure on the nerves in the joints, causing an increase in pain as a storm heads in.
People may be less likely to exercise when the weather outside is frightful, as well, and this can also lead to an increase in painful symptoms.
On the other hand, warm, dry climates with a relatively stable high barometric pressure may ease the stress on joints. This means that people with arthritis may have fewer painful episodes than those who live with dramatic, cold, and wet weather.
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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 .
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 Sensitivity – 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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Icing Or Heating Joints Can Provide Pain Relief And Reduce Swelling But Knowing Whether To Go Cold Or Hot And Knowing How To Use Each Form Of Thermal Therapy Can Be Tricky
Sometimes old-fashioned home remedies are just what the doctor ordered. Take using ice or heat for joint pain, for example. When your knee or your shoulder feels stiff, sore, or has a burning sensation, cooling down or warming up the affected area can help provide relief.
Its more of symptomatic relief, says Nilanjana Bose, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist with the Rheumatology Center of Houston. The pain may remain but because gives symptomatic relief, over time that will help, in conjunction with other medicines, heal the area.
But knowing when to use ice and when to use heat for pain relief can be confusing, especially if youre dealing with an ache or issue that youve never dealt with before. Although you should see a health care provider if youre experiencing consistent pain, its helpful to know what treatments can help provide immediate relief, especially if you arent able to see your doctor right away.
So, the question remains: when should you use ice versus heat to ease joint pain? Well, it mostly depends on the cause and type of joint pain youre experiencing, though personal preferences matter, too. After all, nobody knows your own body like you do.
Below, we provide information on when to use heat or ice for joint pain relief, as well as some tips to make your treatment more effective.
Can The Weather Really Worsen Arthritis Pain
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
If you have arthritis, you may have noticed that the weather affects your symptoms. I hear it from my patients all the time.
If its true that the weather can worsen arthritis pain, how does that work? Is there any scientific evidence to explain it? People have been asking these questions for many years without finding good answers. But thats not keeping researchers from trying to understand it better.
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Beneficial Climates For Arthritis
Climates that are warm and dry for the most of the year may be ideal for arthritis sufferers. States in the southwestern United States like Arizona or New Mexico are hot and dry for the most of the year, and may help alleviate pain, fatigue, and swollen joints. Other people with arthritis prefer warm climates like Florida. The most important factor in choosing a place to live is whether it is a good fit for your lifestyle. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the stress of moving away from loved ones in favor of a different climate may cause stress that actually increases pain and fatigue. When choosing a new climate, it is also important to spend a lot of time in the new area in every season so you will know what to expect.
- Climates that are warm and dry for the most of the year may be ideal for arthritis sufferers.
- When choosing a new climate, it is also important to spend a lot of time in the new area in every season so you will know what to expect.