The Who, What, and The Why
Here’s the fun thing about science. Despite the scientific method and all of our advanced technology and research, there is still a vast array of issues that scientists don’t agree on. Meaning; there’s no real consensus on the what and the why. However, there are some plausible theories.
One of the leading theories points to air pressure, specifically Barometic pressure. In layman’s terms this is the weight of the atmosphere around us. When the pressure is higher, it presses into the tissues that surround joints and prevents them from expanding. The onset of cold weather, or rain, tend to cause drops in barometric pressure which in turn allows the tissues to expand which may put pressure on the joints and cause the pain.
This article by the Cleveland Clinic quotes Robert Bolash, MD, pain management specialist who says “Those with arthritis, neck pain or other types of musculoskeletal issues tend to report most weather-related pain” So… there’s the who.
Are certain regions more prone to it? Should you move to Florida? Yes (but only because I’m a little biased as a proud Miami resident). One study found that people in San Diego (very mild and moderate climate) reported MORE weather related pain than the people in the study’s three colder cities; Nashville, Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. No matter where you are in the world, humidity and barometric pressure will change, and chances are your pain will follow you anywhere you go.
Did you think I would leave it at that piece of gloomy (pun intended) news? Girl, please. So we can’t avoid bad weather, and we certainly can’t control atmospheric pressure. So, is there anything you can do to prevent or decrease weather related pain if you’re someone who suffers from it?
Give me some credit, if the answer was no, I wouldn’t have written this!
Here are some measures you can take for some relief:
- Prevent swelling – Here is a more in-depth article on that.
- Layer up – The viscous joint fluid that reduces friction between the bones in the joints becomes thicker in cold weather, which causes joint stiffness and pain. So stay warm, friends.
- Don’t stop moving – resistance based training and flexibility/mobility work is important to maintain joint health, and build muscle (the more you have, the better able it is to support your joints). Maintaining mobility is one of the most important things you can do for your joint health, regardless of the weather.
- Increase medication or consider anti-inflammatory medication – this one speaks for itself, but of course always talk to your prescribing physician before making any changes in medication.
Or…come visit us. Joints are our bread and butter. If your pain is caused by increased inflammation, this is actually good news for you. A chiropractor can reduce inflammation and improve joint-range of motion through a safe and non-invasive measure, prior to resorting to increased medication (why take it if you don’t need it?). So as the weather gets colder, don’t forget we’re here to help.
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