Everyone has probably heard someone say that their joints are in more pain when it’s cold, or even when it’s raining, but is this true? Is this just an old wives’ tale about feeling when bad weather is coming? Not so much. The weather CAN indeed affect your pain because of the barometric pressure changes that it puts on your body. Patients here at OSR tell us every day during our cooling months, that their chronic pain flare ups have been getting increasingly worse.
In a study conducted by Robert Newlin Jamison, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, around two thirds of people that were interviewed about their chronic pain said that the weather affected their pain levels. Why? One theory is about the element that changes the most when it gets cold or rains, barometric pressure. The barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that is surrounding us. When cooler weather is on its way, that pressure lowers, which can cause tissues to expand which will put more strain on the joints.
This science is not exact, and there are other theories about why our bodies and chronic pain is effected by the rain. Although the changes in the atmosphere and the pressure aren’t big enough to be measured, there is no doubt that most patients know how their pain levels change in inclement weather. Even here in Kailua in a warmer climate, our arthritis patients feel the same way about the change in weather as patients do in areas of the mainland when the winter cold gets here.
There are a few immediate at-home tricks that may help with your pain:
- Apply a hot water bottle, or a microwavable wheat pack wrapped in a towel to the specific joint which is causing you grief. Apply the heat to the knees for 10-15 minutes at a time, and you can even repeat this several times a day! Plus it’ll help keep you warm!
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Not only sitting but being sedentary. If you spend a lot or your day not moving, be sure to get up and move around throughout the day to keep your joints moving. The worst thing you can do to your body is sit all day.
- Call and set up an appointment with Oahu Spine & Rehab here in Kailua if your chronic pain has got you down during the winter months. Here at OSR we will provided you with a personalized treatment plan for your condition. Call us today at 488-5555!