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Joint Pain Flare-ups And Changes In The Weather

For many suffering from joint pain, inflammatory arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, changes in the weather can lead to increased pain and stiffness. In fact, some people with arthritis even claim that they can predict the weather based on how their joints feel. While the research connecting joint pain and the weather is largely inconclusive, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to indicate that for many arthritis patients, there is a very real connection between weather changes and joint pain. 

WHY DO JOINTS HURT MORE WHEN THE WEATHER CHANGES? 

There has been extensive research on the connection between joint pain and changes in the weather. Some studies have found no connection between the two, while others have found a connection but have not found the reason for the connection. One of the challenges in this area of research is the number of factors that seem to be at play including changes in barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation, and temperature. 

Despite this uncertainty, recent research compiled by the Arthritis Foundation suggests that there are a few theories about why arthritis in the wrists, hands, knees, and other joints is worse on certain days. One theory is that those with joint pain are more sensitive to changes in the barometric pressure. This could be because cartilage at the joints is worn down, exposing nerves that could feel changes in the pressure. Another theory is that the tendons, muscles, and scar tissue in the joints expand as a result of some weather changes, leading to increased pain and stiffness. A final theory is that on cold and rainy days, people are generally more sedentary, leading to increased joint stiffness. 

JOINT PAIN TREATMENT

While the science might be ambiguous, the flare-ups for many arthritis sufferers are not. The good news is that even if you do suffer from flare-ups, the increased pain will usually subside when the weather changes again. And, in the meantime, there are some things you can do to get joint pain relief. 

One basic thing is to keep your body and joints warm on cold, damp days. A hot bath, layered clothing, or a heating pad can all help to minimize flare-ups. Additionally, staying active and exercising can help to reduce stiffness and pain. For some, medications can be an effective way to combat flare-ups. Further, taking extra precautions to care for yourself during weather changes – including eating well, getting plenty of rest, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight – can help to limit joint pain and stiffness. 

If you suffer from extreme flare-ups when the weather changes, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to create a treatment plan for these times of the year. Being prepared for weather changes can help to minimize flare-ups and make you more comfortable year-round. 

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