Joint Pain and Weather, there is a connection

For years I have heard from patients and relatives that whenever the weather changes or if it is going to rain or snow, then people have an increase in joint pain. I remember my great aunt Mar, who lived to be in her mid 90’s, saying that whenever it was going to rain her knuckels would light up like light bulbs and get all red and inflammed, and painful. And it never fails that whenever there is a drastic change of weather, or a front moving through, my patients have more flairups and over overall joint pain. These responses are too common to be coincidental.So what can cause this increase in joint pain whenever there is a change in weather? When it is about to rain or snow, the barometric pressure drops. The barometric pressure is the pressure in the air around us. To balance out the pressure in the air we have pressure in our joints. The pressure in our joints pushes out against the pressure in the air to maintain a state of equilibrium, and balances out the pressure in the air. So when the pressure in the air drops, like when it is about to rain, the pressure in our joints stays the same. The pressure in our joints now has less resistence to push against because the atmospheric pressure has dropped. So in relation to the dropping atmospheric pressure, the pressure in our joints increases. And if your joints are sensitive, or if you have some type of arthritis, your joints will get irritated.I saw a great example of this when I was in Colorado this past week. Denver, Colorado sits at 5000 feet above sea level. I live in Pittsburgh, Pa that sits at about 600 feet above sea level. While in Denver I got my child a vaccuum sealed package of cereal. When that cereal was packaged at sea level, the air pressure balanced out the pressure in the cereal package, so it looked normal. But when that cereal package went to Denver, where the air is thinner and there is less air pressure, the pressure in the cereal package started pushing out against the lesser air pressure in Denver. The end result was that while in Denver, the cereal package was bloated and almost inflammed. Like what our joints get when the air pressure drops. I thought it was a great analogy for what happens to our joints when the weather changes.So if you do feel an increase in symptoms when the weather changes, you are not imagining it. On a day like that, you would want to take it easy, do some light exercising to get some blood flowing, and not do anything strenuos. Wait till the weather calms down and your joint pain calms down, then go and do some more intense exercising.



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