What does the weather have to do with your pain?

What does the weather have to do with your pain?

by Yenny (SU)

Some folks claim they can tell when it’s going to rain or there’s a cold front on the way because their arthritis is acting up. Images of an old timer on his porch, saying “there’s a storm coming, I can feel it in my knees,” might come to mind. But does weather have anything to do with your chronic pain?

The answer to that question is a bit ambiguous, unfortunately. While there is no definitive research evidence that the weather has a direct effect on your bones and joints, most rheumatologists will tell you that many of their patients do experience joint pain as the climate changes.

Here in Texas, the climate ranges from arid in the west to humid in the east. Temperatures are moderately cold in the winter and extremely warm in the summer. Plus, thunderstorms are quite common with average annual rainfall of more than 34 inches.

How would that affect you if you had arthritic or any other type of pain?

It is widely acknowledged that a change of season – particularly from spring to summer – can cause arthritis flare-ups. The theory is that rising or falling temperatures force a change in the level of the synovial fluid that lines the joints.

Also, while dry, warm weather helps soothe aching joints, days of high humidity and low barometric pressure – such as just before a storm – increases pressure on your joints. That’s because your tendons, ligaments, and muscles are expanding, and that can irritate already sensitive joints.  

Weathering Your Joint Pain

There may not be much you can do about the weather, but there are ways you can manage your pain during hot, steamy summer months. These include:

·       Eating well and staying hydrated. Nourishing your body with a well-balanced diet and drinking lots of water will not only make you feel good; it’ll enable you to tolerate the heat much better. Hydration is especially important because your joint cartilage has a high-water content. When your body loses fluid that is not replenished, it decreases the concentration of joint fluid, which agitates existing pain conditions.

·       Staying indoors during the hottest hours of the day. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people underestimate the effect hot weather can have on the body. Remaining in a cooler environment could spare you the worst pain associated with higher temperatures. If you must be outdoors, dress lightly, take a dip in the pool, or use a misting fan or cold pack.

·       Using your air conditioner to reduce your pain level. Don’t worry about higher electric bills. Keeping yourself cool, comfortable and pain-free is more important.

·       Cooling off with mint and essential oil. Minty teas, lotions, and soaps provide a natural cooling sensation that helps diminish pain. Meanwhile, menthol, peppermint, and spearmint essential oils are cooling, relaxing, and known to ease muscle aches and general pain. 

Are you tired of taking pain medication every day, only to still be in pain? If you need relief that lasts for weeks or months, we can help. Pain Specialists of Austin helps patients with pain every day. If you have any type of pain, call 512-485-7200 for an appointment today. We have 10 convenient locations in the Austin, Texas area, and you can also request an appointment online