Weather and Joint Pain: What's the Link?

While many people shy away from sharing about their joint pain which is triggered by change in the weather, the researchers assert that changes in the weather can have dramatically painful effects on your joints.

Vasudha Bhat
PainWritten by: Vasudha BhatPublished at: Jan 25, 2015Updated at: Feb 13, 2015
Weather and Joint Pain: What's the Link?

The temperature drops outside and your joints begin to flare up. Could it be true or just a widely held traditional belief? Is this the looming danger of arthritis? Can your joint pain actually indicate a change in the weather?

Joint Pain and Weather

All thanks to the effects of barometric pressure changes on the body, it is true that that tingling sensation in your knee could be a result of weather change.

A professor in the departments of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, Robert Newlin Jamison, PhD, who is also a researcher who has studied
the effects of weather on chronic pain in patients, says that blaming the weather for increase in pain is common for people.

He says "everyone's got an aunt who complained that her knee or ankle would flare up. Or Uncle Charlie's shoulder would give him trouble and he would say, ‘Oh, the weather's changing'".

However, Jamison who is also the chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Boston adds that due to some reason, people with chronic pain feel shy about sharing their pain because they feel that others may think that they are nuts.

But, the researcher doesn’t believe in that. In a research published earlier, Jamison searched for a link between weather and chronic pain in four cities which experienced colder weather than Boston.

The results obtained by interviewing people in these cities showed "two-thirds said they were pretty sure that weather seems to affect their pain," he says. "Most of them reported that they could actually feel the changes even before the weather changed. In other words, they could feel some increased pain the day before the storm comes".

Joint Pain and Weather

So, How Does it Happen?

David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center and past president of the American College of Rheumatology says that it is common for joint pain to begin even before it starts to rain. He adds "if you really listened carefully to Grandma or someone who had arthritis, they actually told you it was going to rain," he says. "They said, ‘It's going to rain today,' and more likely than not, they were usually correct".


So, just stop shying away from experiencing your troubles.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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