Many people see a clear relationship between the weather and their joint pain but how do weather patterns impact our joints?
People with arthritis have the tendency to feel increased pain when there is an extreme change in the weather or in damp climates. People also express that their joint pain responds to air pressure, wind speed, and humidity. A study found that individuals with arthritis of the knees experienced an increase in pain with every 10-degree drop in temperature. Some doctors say that the relationship between temperature and pain is caused by the thickening of synovial fluid. Synovial fluid, also called joint fluid, is located between your joints and functions as a cushion, reducing friction between
the ends of your bones. Low temperatures can make this fluid more viscous, possibly contributing to an increase in arthritic pain and joint stiffness.
Further studies suggest that increased joint pain may be due to barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the amount of weight that air molecules exert on objects on earth. Changes in this air pressure cause ligaments, cartilage, and tendons within the joint to expand or contract. Because of this, when barometric pressure significantly decreases, tissues can swell irritating sensitive nerves and joints can become increasingly stiff.
It is important to note that although weather patterns may worsen symptoms of arthritis, the weather isn’t solely responsible for arthritis nor does it affect the course of arthritis. Additionally, some people may be more sensitive to temperature and pressure changes than others. Staying warm and seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis can help your body cope with the ups and downs that joint pain brings.