Weather Changes and Joint Pain

October 6, 2023 / Senior Living Community
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A senior woman sitting on her couch with her hand on her sore knee.

The old saying, “My knees always know when it’s going to rain” might be more than just an old wives’ tale. Whether it’s your knees or hips feeling an ache before a storm, research shows that joint flare ups may be linked to barometric pressure.

As rain and cold weather approaches, those who suffer from achy joints, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases may be more affected. Discover how lower temperatures affect the joints and how to combat the pain.

Why does colder weather cause joint pain?

When a cold front comes on, the barometric pressure can decrease; ultimately, leading to precipitation or even snow. This drop in temperature and barometric pressure can cause the joints to swell, putting pressure on the body and causing the familiar achy pain. Researchers believe that this expansion of the joints is the joint capsule reacting to the outside environment.

It may go further than just the joints though. Other studies believe that cold weather affects tissues on a cellular level. When the temperature dips, it can cause a reaction in the cells. This change thus creates inflammation in the joints.

How do you combat the pain?

While you can’t control the weather, there are tools you can utilize to not only manage the pain, but also get ahead of it. 

  • Keep an eye on the weather. If there’s a sudden change in temperature, plan to stay inside that day to rest in an AC controlled environment.
  • Utilize a heating pad to keep joint swelling to a minimum.
  • If you do have to go outside on rainy or cold days, remember to layer up!
  • Staying active may be the last thing you want to do, but inactivity will cause the joints to stiffen- which will increase the pain.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. As well, eating anti-inflammatory rich foods like salmon and nuts can help reduce the overall inflammation levels in your body.
  • Feeling the pain in your hands? Try wearing compression gloves to act as a gentle pain relief on tired joints.
  • Try using a hot tub or sauna! The heat and moisture can reduce arthritis pain and inflammation.
  • Remember to prioritize sleep during weather changes! A good night’s sleep can make a world of difference.

If you have arthritis or another condition that causes your joints to be more sensitive to barometric pressure changes, then it may be time to talk with your doctor about adjusting your medications.


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