Joint pain and arthritis are prevalent conditions affecting millions of Americans. According to CDC, about one in four adults with arthritis—15 million people—report experiencing severe joint pain related to arthritis. Changes in the weather, specifically barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity, have long been thought to affect joint pain.
Read on to know how changes in the weather can affect your joint pain and what you can do to minimize its effects.
How Does Changes in Weather Affect Joints?
There are a variety of theories as to why changes in the weather might affect joints. These include:
1. The Weather Can Cause Inflammation in the Body, Which Might Lead To Pain in the Joints
The barometric pressure also changes when the climatological conditions are about to change. It can cause tissues in the body to expand or contract. When these tissues expand, they can pressure the joints, leading to pain.
People with arthritis are especially susceptible to joint pain because they already have inflammation.
2. Changes in Barometric Pressure Can Affect the Distribution of Fluids in the Body
When the barometric pressure drops, the tissues in our body expand. It can cause an increase in the fluid pressure inside our joints. The expansion of tissues can also pressure the nerves around our joints, leading to pain.
3. Weather Changes Can Also Affect Our Moods
Barometric pressure fluctuations can also lead to changes in our moods. Studies have shown that low pressure can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Such feelings amplify pain and can make it more challenging to cope with.
4. Lack of Physical Activity
When it is rainy or cloudy outside, we are more likely to spend time indoors. We may not feel as motivated to go for a walk, play tennis, or participate in other forms of physical activity. As a result, our joints can become stiff and painful.
Expert Tips to Manage Weather-related Pain
- Get regular exercise: Exercise can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. It also helps to keep the joints mobile and strengthens the muscles around the joint.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce pain and inflammation. Foods high in omega-three fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and seeds, are especially beneficial.
- Use hot and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected joint can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy can be done using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm compress. Cold therapy can be done using an ice pack or a cold compress.