Weather and Joint Pain – Is It All in Your Head?

Tornado WeatherWe all know someone in our lives who claimed the weather was about to change because they could feel it in their knees. When you were younger, you may have thought your older relatives were crazy for making such claims, especially if they claimed it was going to rain the next day when the weather was bright and sunny. Now that you are older, you may have gotten a little of these powers too.

Have you noticed that you feel more pain and stiffness right before the temperature drops or a storm rolls in? Don’t worry, you aren’t imagining things. Research has found that there is truth to the effects of barometric pressure changes on your body.

How is this possible? The most plausible explanation is that the barometric pressure affects people who have sensitive joints. The barometric pressure in simple terms is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us. Imagine joint tissues like that of a balloon. When the barometric pressure is high, like on a clear or sunny day, it pushes on an individual’s body and keeps tissues from expanding. However, when the barometric pressure drops, like in cold weather, less pressure is put on the body. This means that the tissues can expand and cause the joints pain. This sensation happens to everyone, but only a select few that have dealt with injuries or chronic pain can feel it.

Most people think that moving to a warmer place will fix their problems, but that isn’t always the case. The pain will go with you wherever you go; there is no magical pain-free place here on earth. However, if you are sensitive to the weather changes, here are a few things you can do to prevent the pain.

  1. Stay Warm: Since the cold weather causes more pain, it is best to stay as warm as possible. This means dressing in layers, sleeping with an electric blanket, and even warming up your clothes in the dryer before heading outside.
  2. Try to Prevent Swelling: Try using latex gloves or compression leggings to prevent swelling of the joints.
  3. Get Moving: Before you head outside, try to squeeze in some exercise. Get your body warm so that it can better deal with the cold weather. For those who have a hard time exercising, a walking routine is a great workout that is very low impact.
  4. Realize that the Pain is Temporary: Pain is never easy to deal with, but just keep the mindset that your pain is short-lived. Once the weather goes back to normal, your pain should subside.

So the next time you feel joint pain before a big storm, know that it isn’t all in your head. Talk with your doctor for pain relief if your pain is unmanageable. Also, consider alternative treatment for your pain, such as a chiropractor.


Story Credit, Image Credit: Tornado Weather by Mike McCune. Used under Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.