The relationship between weather and joint pain

Local News
February 04 2022 08:00 am

The branch of science that studies the relationship between weather and living organisms is called biometeorology. Covered in this branch is how changing weather impacts joint pain in some individuals. Commonly as rainy weather moves in, people complain about their joints hurting or their arthritis flaring up. Today 18 News explored this relationship and spoke with a local doctor, Dr. Richard Terry, about the wide range that weather can impact us as humans.

“Patients attribute many of their symptoms to the weather. To their arthritis in particular. Breathing conditions, people with emphysema, even mental health can be related,” Dr. Terry said.

Speaking with Bailey Carver, a girl who endured a broken ankle a couple years ago, she shared the struggle she deals with during changing weather conditions, “When a storm comes, any precipitation, I feel it in my ankle. I felt it more so closer to my surgery. But it still lingers. I can feel you know an achey-ness.”

So why exactly does this happen? When a storm system moves in, air pressure drops. Changes in air pressure can cause joint pain by allowing soft tissue, tendons, and muscles to swell and fluid around joints to expand. This can create pain in a joint impacted by arthritis or that was previously injured. Low temperatures can also make the fluid inside joints thicker, so they feel stiffer. People tend to stay indoors and lounge around when it’s rainy outside and inactive joints become stiff and painful. It is important to keep yourself warm and stay lightly active during these times to combat joint issues. Recommended exercises that are easy on joints include yoga and swimming.

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