Arthritis & Weather Changes
Have you ever heard an older person predict rain because their joints hurt? Of
What is Arthritis Exactly?
Arthritis is a pretty large
Does Weather Really Affect Arthritis Pain?
Barometric pressure is the force exerted on any surface by the weight of the atmosphere. When the atmosphere changes due to a storm system or large weather pattern the barometric pressure drops. This drop in barometric pressure causes tissues in the body to expand which in turn can put more pressure on the nerves that control pain signals. Migraine sufferers also report major headache episodes related to changes in barometric pressure. The lower barometric pressure creates a difference in the pressure in the air outside and the air in your sinuses.
Other causes of exacerbated arthritis pain come from changes in our exercise or movement routines. We naturally want to hibernate when it is cold, which means we might spend more time on the couch than exercising. Winter weather conditions often make it a challenge to get in a daily walk or make a trip to the gym. Moving less can create stiffness in joints and muscles that in turn cause pain.
How to Manage Pain During Weather Changes
If you cannot get outdoors or to a fitness center to exercise, do as much as you safely can at home. Exercise will ease arthritis pain, so as much movement as you can manage is important. Here are a few activities you can do indoors to keep joints from becoming stiff:
- Walking indoors (your home or a shopping mall)
- Stretching or yoga
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Sweeping or vacuuming – any household chores!
- Just move!
When you must be outdoors, dressing to stay warm and dry is critical to preventing arthritis pain.
Dress isloose layers. Layers trap heat near your body keeping the joints warm and more mobile.
- Keep extremities covered: gloves, scarf and a hat
- Waterproof shoes will keep your feet warm. Nothing is worse
thatcold, wet toes!
- Stay dry if it's raining with a raincoat and umbrella
Even indoors, cold weather can make joints stiff. Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees or warmer and dress in layers to keep muscles from becoming stiff.
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