Why do my Joints Hurt when the Weather Changes
If you suffer from any type of joint ailment, you might be able to feel it when the weather turns for the worse. Blame it on barometric pressure. This measurement refers to the weight of the surrounding air that tends to change as the weather does.
In 2007 researchers at Tuft University determined that arthritic pain is triggered every time the weather drops by 10 degrees. An experiment on cadavers found that barometric pressure actually affects the interior of the joints itself. However researchers aren’t exactly sure why the change triggers joint pain.
According to co-director of sports medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, “Arthritis affects everything else within the joint itself, including the joint lining which we call the synovium, as well as the ligaments that are within the joint. All of those tissues have nerve endings in them, so they’re going to feel changes in the weather as tightness in the joints…”
How Patients can Manage
All types of arthritis are degenerative in nature. However patients can manage their pain better by consulting with their doctors. Managing flare-ups when temperatures drop is a case in point. As Dr. Gladstone puts it, “Anything cold causes muscles, ligaments and tendons to sort of tighten up, and that makes them stiffer. So if you’re going to be doing stuff in cold weather, you want to make sure you warm up well first, and as importantly, have protective on, so you don’t get too cold.”
Experts also advise other ways that can help patients manage their pain and discomfort when their joints flare up –
This might seem like a tall order when you want to do nothing but sit the pain out. However, exercise is necessary to keep your joints lubricated. This will prevent them from stiffening up and become painful when barometric pressure drops. Keep your workout indoors if it is too cold out. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it. Choose low impact exercises that keep your joints moving without stressing them out. Even walking the length of your corridor is good exercise for inflamed joints. Here are some other mild workouts in detail –
Leg Flexes – Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Keep them together. Slide your right heel inward till it touches your hip. You should feel the muscles in your thigh stretching. Slide the foot forward after five seconds. Repeat the exercise with the other foot and make sure that you support your body by placing your hands behind you on the floor.
Equipment such as a copper elbow sleeve or a knee brace will keep your knees stable throughout your workout, promote blood flow and keep swelling to a minimum. In addition, it will also boost your performance and prevent injuries.
How weather affects arthritic joints is still a mystery. However patients can manage the pain if they make low impact exercises a part of their treatment plans.