Do your joints ache when the weather takes a turn for the worst? If so, you’re not alone in experiencing this strange phenomenon. Many medical doctors suggest it’s “all in your head” and despite a lack of clinical support for the theory, many arthritic pain sufferers insist that they notice pain flare-ups during stormy weather periods.

Recently is was estimated that nearly six out of ten individuals suffering arthritic pain experience a worsening of symptoms with varying weather conditions.

Perhaps It’s Not All In Your Head After All

A group of Dutch investigators monitored pain levels of hip arthritic patients over a two year period. Following this period, they matched the daily pain level with the days weather pattern. It was demonstrated that aches and pain were indeed worsened when humidity and barometric pressure increased. Participants rated there pain experience as approximately 10% worse during these weather periods.

How Can We Explain This?

While there are a multitude of explanations for the arthritic pain phenomenon, perhaps the most plausible is that “ligaments contain specialized receptions. These stretch receptions could potentially be hypersensitive in arthritic individuals. Small changes in atmospheric pressure may stimulate these receptors” (Dr. Fotios Koumpouras, Rheumatologist). Other suggested theories have included reduce pain tolerance during colder weather, reduced movement during stormy weather and the psychological influence of bad weather.

Arthritic Pain Sufferers

Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis are both characterized by pain, inflammation, stiffness and joint swelling but they present rather differently.

  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) usually presents in older individuals due to repetitive stress or trauma. Is commonly found in peripheral joints such as the hands, hips and knees
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorders that results in the bodies immune system attacking the joints of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis may occur in any individual at any age. Typically is symmetrical in appearance and effects both sides of the body equally

What Can You Do?

Don’t be alarmed by changes in your pain during bad periods of weather. Ensure you maintain good joint movement through exercise as well as consuming an anti-inflammatory diet to assist with joint health.