Why Does Cold Weather Affect your Arthritis

With fall well on its way to becoming winter, you may feel like you are able to predict the weather that’s coming by the pain you feel in your joints. We all have that almost prophetic aunt who could tell us exactly what the week’s weather would be like based on how her old bad knee was feeling. People have often wondered, is it just a myth? Or can joint pain actually predict weather changes? Your weather forecasting abilities may actually have some validity, and many doctors who have attempted to study the reasons behind this phenomenon have said it may be thanks to the effects of barometric pressure changes on your body.

It’s quite common for people to blame increased pain on the weather, many people even plan out their physical activities with an eye on the weather channel because they know they may be able to be less active the day before a big weather change. Doctors are well aware of this, and often hear complaints from their patients that they had some increased pain the day before a storm hits. But how does this happen?  While there is no absolute reason for why weather causes pain, there are certainly theories supporting the claim. One of the leading theories points to changes in air pressure. Many people blame their pain on damp, rainy weather days, however, research has shown that it’s actually not the cold, wind, rain, or snow. The thing that affects people the most is barometric pressure, which is the weight of the atmosphere that is around us.

To better understand what happens to create that odd feeling, it is important to understand how our joints and tissues work together. Imagine that the tissues surrounding the joints are like a balloon, what high barometric pressure does is push against the body from the outside, and in this way keeping the tissues from expanding. When a storm is coming, they day before the lower air pressure pushes less against the body, and this allows the tissues to expand. Those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint, and can hardly be noticed except for the odd sensations it gives off. When the rain comes, people say that they finally get some relief from the pain.

The link between pain and weather changes remains hypothetical, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. There are people who say that weather doesn’t affect their pain at all. However, if you are one of the people that it does take a toll on, this knowledge about the weather’s effects may help you control your knee pain better. If you know a big front is coming in, make sure you’re taking your medications properly to reduce discomfort. Whatever way you choose to treat and manage your pain, you can take comfort in the fact that science may support your forecasting abilities. Weather could very well play a role in knee pain, and more doctors are considering the odd connection to be true.