Grandpa Jones didn’t need to check with a meteorologist to know that a cold front was coming in. His aching joints told him all he needed to know about the changing weather.
A rise or fall of barometric pressure, humidity, or even temperature can often trigger various joint pains especially for those suffering from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. Studies by scientists at Tufts University in Boston revealed that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritis pain. Similarly in their studies, the researchers were able to show that increasing barometric pressure was also a source of pain.
Barometric pressure or atmospheric pressure is “the weight of the air”. A rise in atmospheric pressure usually corresponds to good weather while a decrease usually corresponds to bad weather. Sudden decreases in barometric pressure like that from a rainstorm or a heat wave can impact the joints of people who are more sensitive or who have pre-existing conditions. The ups and downs in pressure and temperatures often cause changes in the bodily, which then can also cause inflammation or sensitivity to the joints.
Researchers working with cadavers were able to confirm that barometric pressure affects pressure inside the joints. In an experiment on hip joints, the change in atmospheric pressure was enough to force the ball of the hip joint about one-third of an inch out of alignment.
In self-reported studies, 50 to 80% of patients who suffered from migraines indicated that the weather can set off a headache. In a published report by Boston Children’s Hospital, migraine sufferers were requested to keep calendars documenting their migraines over a period of two years. This was then compared to meteorological records kept by the National Weather Service. Roughly half of study participants got migraines that coincided with weather changes. For some, they were most affected by a combination of low temperatures and low humidity. For others, their migraine headaches happened under the exact opposite conditions – high heat and high humidity.
If you have a condition such as arthritis or migraine, it can be beneficial to have a pain management consultants look into it. Frequently, the proper physical therapy and/or pain management techniques can be prescribed to help strengthen your body and forestall a flare up.
At Capitol Pain Institute, our top pain management doctors and specialists can help you prevent a future flare up and treat your current condition.