Does Weather Affect Arthritis Pain?

By Medical News Today — From Published at February 24, 2010 Views 6,082 Comments 9 Likes 4

John Hopkins made an effort to answer the age old and long-debated question of whether arthritis pain is affect by weather conditions. It seems that most arthritis suffers report that they experience more arthritis pain on cold, rainy days and less arthritis pain on warm, dry days.

Research studies looked a relationship between weather and arthritis in 151 people with Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) as well 32 would did not have any form of arthritis. The participants all lived in Cordoba City, Argentina, which has a warm climate. They were asked to keep journals on their symptoms and those journals were matched up weather conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity.

Patients experienced more pain on the days where the temperature was low. Patients with RA were affected by high humidity and high pressure. Patients with OA were affected by high humidity. Patients with FMS were most affected by high pressure. The consensus by the medical group: “the associations were not strong enough to allow pain to predict weather, or vice versa”.

A second study looked at 154 in Florida who had osteoarthritis of the neck, hand, shoulder, knee, or foot with an average age of 72. The consensus: “No significant associations were found between any of the weather conditions and osteoarthritis pain at any site, except for a slight association between rising barometric pressure and hand pain in women.”

So does weather really affect arthritis levels?

“One theory holds that a drop in air pressure (which often accompanies cold, rainy weather) allows tissues in the body to expand to fill the space, meaning that already inflamed tissue can swell even more and cause increased arthritis pain. Other possibilities: Pain thresholds drop in colder weather; cold, rainy days affect mood; and during colder weather people are less likely to be outside and get the exercise that normally helps keep arthritis pain in check.”

The study did not look at colder areas of the country.

Read the full article at Bullet-go

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Comments (9 comments)

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dlynsmith September 24, 2010 at 6:18 am   

Yes weather affects my RA. I have been diagnosed with RA for 5 years and Osteoarthritis for 30 years, and whenever the barometric pressure changes I can tell immediately. I am more accurate than the local weatherman. I have different degrees of pain. When it is to rain, my pain is not a severe and in a different part of my body, then when it is going to snow. There are some days when I cannot even move, because it hurts so bad, and that is when we are going to have a dragstic change in the weather. I can tell this two days in advance. My pain is pretty much in my hips, knees, ankles, and feet. I am so accurate, I have friends and family call me to see how I am feeling, and then they will make their plans.

memaw September 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm   

I have had RA for 30 years. I think the older I get the more my changes in symptoms seems to increase due to weather. I live in Kansas, where summers are hot and humid, and I don't do well in it, my least favorite season. Today was extremely overcast and storms rolled in later in afternoon, I was so tried from it could hardly stay awake all day, not at all like normal! Is ther a place that stays from 60-80 degrees year round w/very little humidity? If so, I am so there!

hertin September 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm   

Two days before a change in the weather, even before the barometer at home changes the discomfort begins. It's my knees and they get really stiff. Now that I've had allot of the arthritis scrapped away surgically I am hoping for relief. I'll keep you posted!

karenscott September 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm   

The weather affect my arthritis and my Fibromyalgia .We have had realy warm weather here here in Ohio for the last few days and had bad storms.I have been hurting realy bad.Winter is the worst for me.I dont even feel like going out of the house in the winter and I have trouble sleeping at night from the pain.

barkingbeaner August 30, 2010 at 10:48 pm   

yes i feel that the weather does affect my arthritis. I hurts and my joints swell more when it is going to rain or when it is cold. My sister made me a pair of wrist warmers from the tops of socks. the keep my wrist warm and there fore less painfull

Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 10:13 pm   

The weather definitely affects my RA, OA & FMS.

ClaudiaMP August 29, 2010 at 9:25 pm   

Weather indeed affects my RA and osteo.

runtly April 1, 2010 at 7:26 am   

I live in Cleveland and when there is high pressure in the air, is when my hand hurts most,when the pressure drops, my hand is much better. High humidity has an effect on me also.

Debbie928 March 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm   

They need to do the study in an area where there is a wide variety of weather changes, like cold weather areas. Why are all the studies done in warm climates? I can tell when it is going to rain my knees real start to ache. I hate when it is cold they really hurt.

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