Nov 20, 2017

Does the Weather Affect Arthritis?

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For many arthritis patients, cold weather can lead to joint pain. We have all heard the old wives tales and everyone has that uncle who can feel the storm approaching in his knee. But can the weather truly worsen arthritis pain and stiffness?

Weather sensitivity.

There is some research that backs your uncle’s claims, but studies fail to provide true conclusive evidence between weather and arthritis pain. However, 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, 67 percent said they were weather sensitive. It turns out that weather-sensitive people with osteoarthritis experience more joint pain overall than their non-weather-sensitive counterparts. So while there isn’t conclusive evidence that weather affects arthritis, there are some that may experience pain differently during the colder months.

Barometric pressure.

While there isn’t scientific data that weather exacerbates arthritis symptoms, there could be a potential link between barometric pressure, humidity and swelling. There are several studies that documented increases in pain with rising barometric pressure. The swelling in the joints causes stiffness which in turn causes pain.

What can we do?

When it’s cold we tend to clench, crouch and tighten our bodies which can contribute to even more joint and stiffness. Try to avoid these defensive postures. When venturing out into the elements, make a conscious effort to focus on maintaining proper posture.

It is well known that exercise helps ease arthritis symptoms, but when it’s chilly it is easy to curl up on the couch and forget about being active. It is important to stay active all year long to increase flexibility, keep us strong and ease arthritis pain. If it’s too cold to be outside, look into your local gym, break out the yoga videos or check out a local, indoor pool.

Dress warm when heading outside. Use layers and be sure to cover your head and hands. Use quality socks and shoes to keep your feet from getting cold and wet.

As of now, there may be no official evidence between cold weather and increased arthritis pain, regardless cold isn’t fun for anyone. Be healthy and be smart during these month as someone who suffers from arthritis may need a little more care. Call the professionals at Carolina Arthritis for treatment options that will keep you comfortable all season long.