Weather Effects on Joints

Many people notice an uptick in joint pain during certain types of weather. This article will explain the effects of weather on joints and the types of weather that can increase joint pain.

Weather and joint pain
The link between weather conditions and joint pain is not clear to experts. One issue is that many studies about weather and joint pain have relied on surveys with few participants. These limited findings are not enough to make solid conclusions, but there are some theories we can look into.

People who suffer from joint pain tend to be more sensitive to air pressure changes. This is possible because cartilage suffers wear and tear over time and leaves bones and nerves more vulnerable to changes.

Another theory is that changes in air pressure can lead to the expansion and contraction of your tendons, muscles, and scar tissue. This expanding and contracting can cause pain flare-ups in arthritic joints. Your joints may also feel stiffer in cold weather because cold temperatures thicken the fluid in your joints.

The more sedentary you are, the more stiff and painful your joints will become. This is a common issue when the weather is cold and rainy because people spend more time indoors where it is dry and warm.

Weather situations that affect joints
Many studies have been done to determine what types of weather conditions cause joint pain. However, the findings have been inconclusive.

A 200-person survey of people who had osteoarthritis in the knee showed that low barometric pressure (air pressure) and temperature drops in 10-degree increments brought on more arthritis pain for the survey participants. Conversely, a 2-year, 220-person study made up of people diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the hips came up with opposite results. The participants in this study reported increased pain and stiffness in correlation with elevated air pressure and humidity.

Some studies have found no connection between joint pain and weather conditions. Research that studied medical records from doctor’s visits and compared the data to weather reports for those dates proved no link between the weather and joint pain and stiffness. Additionally, a study on knee pain and lower back pain failed to correlate weather and joint pain.

Although research does not support this theory, many people experience increased joint pain in certain weather conditions.