31 Dec Why do Joints Hurt When the Weather Changes?
We all have at least one relative who will look out on a bright sunny day, then rub their joints and say, “A storm’s coming.” For many years, it was believed that joints having the ability to predict the weather was just an old wives tale, but there actually may be something to this so called myth.
The leading theory as to why bones and joints hurt when the weather changes claims that people are feeling the change in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere surrounding us. Imagine a balloon. When you blow up a balloon and tie it up, the reason it keeps it shape is because the pressure of the atmosphere is pushing against it from all sides. If that atmospheric pressure drops, the balloon will expand.
The same thing happens with our joints. When the weather is nice and the barometric pressure is high, that pressure pushes against our joints and keeps them from expanding. When the barometric pressure drops, there is less pressure pushing against our joints which causes the tissue to expand. If the joints have been injured or worn down from wear and tear, the nerves in the joint will be more sensitive and will be able to feel when this happens.
By now you might be asking yourself, “Should I move to a warmer climate where the weather doesn’t change so drastically?” While it did use to be common for doctors to send their patients with joint pain to warmer climates, any relief you find there will only be temporary. Once your body adjusts to the weather patterns, the pain will start to flare up again just like before.
You can take steps to manage the pain brought on by changes in the weather by:
taking pain relievers
staying warm by wearing layers, keeping the house heated, and sleeping under an electric blanket
stretching or doing yoga
exercising your joints before you go out in the cold
consulting your doctor if your have chronic pain or pain that does not go away
For more tips on how to keep you bones and joint healthy check out our Complete Guide to Bone and Joint Health on our blog.