Do you suffer from pain in your joints, especially knees, shoulders, wrists, and hips? Whether it is osteoarthritis or an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, or simply the normal wear and tear on the cartilage and the lining of the joints, inflammation in these areas can result in intense pain and loss of mobility.
The tissues surrounding the nerves become damaged and inflamed and invade the local nerves, causing pain that ranges from numbness or tingling to acute agony. Other conditions such as gout, lupus, or lyme disease can also bring about joint discomfort and pain. Why, then, do so many complain of the weather having an effect on their joints?
Joint Pain and The Weather
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what in the seasonal changes of the year could be exacerbating conditions such as joint pain; there are so many different factors both in weather patterns and in the causes of joint pain, to begin with.
As the seasons or weather change, they bring with them changes in the following:
- Barometric pressure
- Changes in the timing of daylight hours (circadian rhythms)
- Amount of allergens, particularly pollen-based, in the air
- Shift in activities and increasing time spent indoors
Broad research studies that have attempted to correlate and pinpoint the exact environmental factors that can bring about this increase have not proven conclusive. While the studies themselves have not proven conclusive, the anecdotal evidence definitely indicates that these weather changes do indeed bring an increase in joint pain, regardless of the other variables involved.
In particular, the drop in pressure and increase in humidity right before a storm can definitely trigger a spike in pain reported by those who suffer from inflammation in the joints. The idea is that the pressure and temperature changes can cause tendons and scar tissue to expand and contract, aggravating the inflammation already present inside the joint. A decrease in temperature can also increase the viscosity of the fluid inside the joints, causing them to tense and feel stiffer.
All of these factors could contribute to spikes in joint pain as the seasons change, bringing with them changes in weather patterns. This, paired with increased time spent inside during the winter months, can lead to a more inactive lifestyle, increasing joint pain, and stiffness.
While this is not enough evidence to suggest that simply changing your living climate for a more moderate one will improve your joint pain, moving to a climate with fair weather and warm temperatures increases the likelihood that you will remain outdoors longer, avoiding long periods of time in stationary positions and avoiding the extreme cold that can aggravate all types of body aches and pains.