Changes In Barometric Pressure
Changes in barometric pressure is one possibility. When air pressure drops, it usually leads to clouds and rain higher pressure areas are typically clear and calm. Shifts in air pressure may make your tendons, muscles, and any scar tissue expand and contract, leading to pain in the joints affected by arthritis.
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.
Barometric Pressure Changes Mean Weather Sensitivity
Some researchers believe that decreases in barometric pressure can increase joint pain. Barometric pressure refers to the force or weight of air surrounding us. A fall in barometric pressure means worsening weather. This can iclude a heat change or an upcoming storm.
Sudden and harsh changes in barometric pressure have been found to affect human health. Researchers believe barometric pressure changes might be linked to various health conditions and symptoms, including headaches, muscle pain, the common cold, eczema , and fatigue.
One theory about barometric pressure is that falling pressure can make muscles, tendons, and other tissues expand. There becomes a confined space in the body, especially in the joints, which leads to increased joint or muscle pain if you live with a muscular pain condition, like fibromyalgia.
A study reported in 2021 in the journal Rheumatology and Therapy aimed to understand if weather sensitivity was linked to clinical symptoms and structural abnormalities in people with knee OA. Nearly 58% of study participants said weather affected their knee-joint clinical symptoms.
Weather sensitivity was based on three questions, including whether warm or cold weather affects symptoms. In the article, the authors do not report which specific weather changes led to symptoms, just that weather changes increased symptoms.
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Risk For Ra From Colder Environments
A cold working environment might increase the risk of developing RA, according to a 2017 Swedish study. In this study, researchers relied on self-reported information on work environments, which included cold indoor and cold outdoor settings, to better understand overall risk and inflammatory markers associated with RA development.
Researchers also investigated how the stress of an occupational physical workload might affect the development of RA in combination with a colder work setting. Based on questionnaires, study participants were categorized by work environmentindoor cold versus outdoor cold presently and in the past.
They also looked at physical workload factors, including bending, lifting, and hand and finger repetitive movements. Researchers found the risk for RA was 1.5 times higher for people who worked in outdoor cold environments and 1.7 times higher for people working in indoor cold environments compared to people who hadnt worked in these types of settings.
The researchers further suggested the indoor cold environment posed a higher risk than the outdoor cold environment because there wasnt always a temperature consistency in the indoor setting. They added that differences in how people were affected by cold could also play a part in how these occupational environments might trigger RA.
Tips On Managing Weather
Regardless of what the studies show, your pain is unique to you. If you notice an increase in joint pain or stiffness during certain weather patterns, there are things you can do to find some relief. Your doctor may increase the dosage of your pain medication, but you can also try one of the following:
Everyone with arthritis is different. Some people are not affected by the weather at all while some experience a significant increase in pain. Unfortunately science doesnt yet have a lot of answers and its impossible to predict what type of weather changes will affect which people. If youve noticed that your symptoms worsen in specific types of weather, talk to your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you.
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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects You Over Time
When you deal with inflammation for a long time without any treatment, it can damage the cartilage of your bones. The cartilage is elastic-like tissue that covers bones and joints. When the effects of rheumatoid arthritis go unchecked, the normal joint spacing between bones becomes smaller. In addition to causing pain in the joints, the shrinking of this space can also lead to loose and unstable joints that you may have trouble controlling voluntarily.
The most common areas of the body affected by rheumatoid arthritis include the ankles, elbows, feet, hands, knees, and wrists. The disease is symmetrical, which means it typically affects both the right and left body part at the same time. It is also important to realize that rheumatoid arthritis can affect respiratory, cardiovascular, or other body systems. This makes it a systemic disease, which means that it affects your entire body.
Joint deformity is another common issue with untreated rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, damage to the joints is not reversible. This is the reason we recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment at UHC Rheumatology. While this disease is incurable, it is possible to treat it and manage the symptoms.
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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You Likely Cant Relocate To Avoid The Weather
So if joint symptoms are milder on sunnier, drier days, why doesnt everyone move to Los Angelessurely this is the best weather for arthritis? Well, one study found that weather sensitivity wasnt related to where the study participants lived, whether that was San Diego, Nashville, Boston, or Worcester, MAhumidity levels change, and temperature drops can happen everywhere.10, 11 Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about a remedy for the pain so that you can go on and enjoy the great outdoorseven on those cold and humid days!
Your Response To The Cold Might Be A Warning Sign Of Something Else
I noticed my hands and feet were continuously cold but not quite turning stark white like typical Raynauds. I was always cold and not much could warm me up, including a hot summers day. It turned out I was dealing with a rare copper deficiency that was affecting my nervous system and circulation. Since I started taking some vitamins and supplements prescribed by my doctor, Ive found that I can handle the cold just a little bit better. A poor response to the cold can also be a sign of issues with your thyroid, diabetes, or other health issues. If you find yourself constantly cold, talk to your doctor so you can work together to find the culprit.
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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
Does Alternating Heat And Cold Therapy Help
Many people find it beneficial to alternate between heat and cold therapy. You can switch between hot and cold therapies throughout the day. Usually, its best to wait at around 20 minutes between sessions, though you can also alternate between hot and cold water in the shower. Always start and finish with a cold treatment.
Talk with your doctor before alternating between full-body treatments such as an ice bath and a sauna or hot tub.
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Does Weather Affect Arthritis Pain
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Medical myths die hard. Maybe thats because theres no agreement on whether a common belief is indeed a myth.
For example, theres the longstanding belief that weather affects arthritis pain. Many of my patients notice a clear connection some are so convinced of the link, they believe they can predict the weather better than the TV meteorologists. And maybe thats true.
But thats not what the science says. A recent study finds no connection between rainy weather and symptoms of back or joint pain. This conclusion was based on a staggering amount of data: more than 11 million medical visits occurring on more than two million rainy days and nine million dry days. Not only was there no clear pattern linking rainy days and more aches and pains, but there were slightly more visits on dry days.
Still not convinced? Thats understandable. Maybe its not rain or shine that matters maybe its barometric pressure, changes in weather, or humidity that matters most. Or maybe the study missed some key information, such as when symptoms began or got worse after all, it can take days or even weeks after symptoms begin to see a doctor.
Can Weather Make Joints Ache
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 don’t think there’s 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.
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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.
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What Does This Mean For People With Arthritis
We spoke to some of the people who took part in the study to find out what this research means to them.
Nora Boswell, 70, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis five years ago. She tells us why she decided to take part in the study and how shes now using the findings to help her plan her days and manage her symptoms.
She begins, I have knee arthritis and multiple aches and pains but couldnt really pin down what made them worse and the thought of continued deterioration was daunting.
Nora decided to take part in the Cloudy study as she thought it was an interesting and much more in-depth way of researching her causes of pain.
She found the Cloudy app easy to use and was impressed by the broad spectrum of influences it was able to track, saying it helped me to think properly about my day to day life.
The results helped her to discover that inactivity raises her pain levels and on the dull, damp and grey days, she finds it difficult to stay motivated. Nora says, forewarning of such weather will ensure I set strategies in place to keep myself active and, I hope, alleviate the effect of the weather to some extent.
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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Internal Organs
Some patients with RA develop more generalized disease in which internal organs can be inflamed and damaged. This is quite rare, especially today with our new therapies. Some of the patients who develop this problem have little nodules under the skin of their forearms. Internal problems can include:
- lung inflammation
- pericarditis, inflammation of the lining around the heart
- nerve irritation called neuropathy
- eye inflammation called scleritis
- dry eyes or dry mouth due to Sjogrens syndrome
Each of these problems can be treated with many of the newer medications available for rheumatoid arthritis.
Between Slippery Sidewalks Aching Joints And Colds And Flu Winter Is Rough On Arthritis These Tips Can Help You Stay Healthy And Safe
If it hasnt arrived where you live yet, rest assured that winter is coming and that can be bad news for people with arthritis , many of whom can literally feel the season in their bones. Some people with arthritis feel better in the winter, but most feel worse, reports Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida, and medical advisor for CreakyJoints.
Science hasnt homed in on the reason that cold weather can exacerbate arthritis joint pain and stiffness, but there are a few possible explanations. A fall in barometric pressure, which often occurs as a cold front approaches, can cause joints to expand, which may result in pain. Low temps may also increase the thickness of the synovial fluid that acts as the joints shock absorber, which makes joints stiffer and more sensitive to pain. Winter even seems to affect us down to our DNA. According to one 2015 study, genes that promote inflammation are increased in winter, while genes that suppress inflammation are simultaneously decreased in the winter. If all thats not enough, flu season is also riskier when you have inflammatory arthritis.
The good news: Winter doesnt have to be season of your discontent if you have arthritis. Check out this advice on how to stay healthy and manage your arthritis pain during the winter months.
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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.
Should You Move To Florida Or Arizona
Its a question that doctors hear all the time from arthritis patients.
People with chronic pain, if they cant get out as much and its so cold all the time or rainy or snowy then they think, Boy, Id like to go some place where the weather isnt quite so dramatic, Jamison says of his patients in Boston.
Though he doesnt advise against moving to warmer climes, he does try to offer realistic expectations. Theres no heaven on earth, he says. If you have awful back or neck pain theres a good chance that that pain will travel with you.
In fact, in Jamisons research, people from San Diego reported the greatest sensitivity to weather changes a surprise finding, considering that it had the warmest climate, compared to Nashville and the two Massachusetts cities.
San Diegans in his study noticed pain even with small changes in weather. You think of San Diego and the temperature is always mild it never gets too cold or particularly too hot but with just a small change, people with pain still reported that they could detect it, Jamison says. I think as mammals, we kind of adjust to our climate.
So its not always helpful to believe that whole myth of, Go to Arizona when you live in the Northeast and somehow your pain will be a lot better, Jamison says. We know that if you ask people to rate their pain in Minnesota or Arizona or California or even Florida, theres no one area of the country where youd say, Theres less pain there.
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What Are Tips For Managing And Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
The following tips are helpful in managing and living with RA:
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Eat healthy foods. Avoid sugar and junk food. Quit smoking, or donât start. Donât drink alcohol in excess. These common-sense measures have an enormous impact on general health and help the body function at its best.
- Exercise: Discuss the right kind of exercise for you with your doctor, if necessary.
- Rest when needed, and get a good nightâs sleep. The immune system functions better with adequate sleep. Pain and mood improve with adequate rest.
- Follow your doctorâs instructions about medications to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.
- Communicate with your doctor about your questions and concerns. They have experience with many issues that are related to rheumatoid arthritis.