The Relationship between Weather Changes and Pain
Did you ever hear your grandmother make predictions about weather changes as soon as her joints started to ache? Well, she’s not alone. Many people begin to experience pain with the change in season or weather. But the science behind it doesn’t necessarily support such claims due to a lack of evidence and the myriad of factors that need to be taken into account. That’s not to say there’s zero correlation between pain and weather change—maybe we’ve not discovered it yet.
What we can be certain of, are several reasons why people might feel pain based on the season or where they live.
We take a look at some of those reasons.
Although the literature on the link between weather and pain is very limited, there’s some evidence to suggest that drops in temperature can affect the synovial fluid’s viscosity in joints. Synovial fluid is present between the bones and helps with lubrication. Cold weather can reduce the viscosity causing those with spinal joint problems to experience pain. Structures within the joints such as ligaments, muscles, connective tissues, and joints react differently to changes in the temperature. Some tissues might become looser while others remain tight leading to joint dysfunction.
Another plausible theory regards changes in the air pressure as the main culprit. These changes affect the barometric pressure which can be understood as the “weight” of the atmosphere surrounding us. High barometric pressure pushes against the body’s tissues and prevents them from expanding. As bad weather is about to set in, the lower air pressure results in less pressure against the body and allows tissue expansion. This expansion applies pressure on the joints. A reason this phenomenon hasn’t been properly documented is because the process is hardly noticeable.
Despite the fact that there’s no consensus on the theory, many doctors are inclined toward it because the effects are similar when people ascend altitude during flights. Less pressure causes expansion.
People assume that moving to warmer climates will reduce the pain. Although there’s no research to prove this, moving to a sunnier region is beneficial for other reasons including greater exposure to the sun. This allows for buildup for vitamin D which is beneficial for the joints and bones. This also creates better opportunities to go outside and get some physical exercise.
Some effective ways of keeping the pain at bay include:
- Taking care of your diet and avoiding foods that can lead to inflammation (red meats, sugars, processed starches).
- Staying hydrated by avoiding alcoholic beverages and drinking lots of water
- Getting some sunlight (for reasons stated previously)
- Keeping warm
- Chiropractic care
The pain experienced in joints due to arthritis and other causes can be prevented and significantly reduced with chiropractic care. Dr. William Yadon D.C and Dr. James Stapleton D.C are qualified chiropractors in Shelbyville and have years of experience when it comes to treating joint, muscle, and back pain. Contact us today!