Can you feel the rain coming in your joints? If you have noticed that your joints ache and arthritis flares when the weather changes, especially during winter when temperatures fall, you're not alone. Many physicians have observed that more people, especially those suffering from chronic pain conditions, feel joint pain, stiffness, and aches on rainy or cold days. So what exactly is responsible for this?
Changes in Barometric Pressure
While there's no consensus among scientists on the exact connection between weather and joint pain, a few theories about the relationship exist. One popular idea is that people with chronic joint pain may be sensitive to barometric pressure changes. Rain typically comes with a drop in barometric pressure, a measure that refers to the air's weight. Low barometric pressure may irritate sensitive nerves and cause tissues in your body to swell. It makes your muscles, tendons, and any scar tissue contract and expand, creating pain in the joints.
Reduced Blood Flow to the Extremities
When the temperature drops, your body conserves heat by limiting blood flow to the extremities and pumping more blood to the lungs and heart. This can result in stiffness and pain in the joints. Low temperatures can also thicken the fluid inside your joints, so they feel stiffer and more sensitive to pain.
Lack of Physical Activity
Physical activity relieves joint pain, but you don't move around as much as you usually do when it's rainy and cold outside. Being less active on lousy weather days causes less blood flow to the muscles and joints, causing them to become stiff and ache more.
Weather Changes Affect Mood
Barometric pressure fluctuations can alter moods and trigger headaches. You may feel tired, lethargic, depressed, or sad and are less likely to exert yourself in new or productive activities. If you're feeling down psychologically, you're more likely to feel worse physically. Feelings of sadness or depression can magnify the perception of pain.
How to Manage Weather-Related Pain
When the weather changes and temperatures drop, try to keep yourself warm. Layer up and take warm showers and baths and stay active. Do light exercises that are gentle on the joints, and don't strain your joints if you don't have to. While these at-home remedies can alleviate some pain, you still need help managing your chronic pain . We can help you overcome your joint pain and show you how you can continue to enjoy effective joint mobility regardless of weather changes. Contact The Pain Center for an evaluation of how we can help treat your condition.