Can Your Joints Predict the Weather?
Do you or your grandmother predict bad weather because of stiff, painful knees? Many doctors agree that you may feel more joint pain on cold, rainy days. Barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, and precipitation are factors that can affect the joints. Determining the actual causative factor for joint pain is tricky. Research on weather-related joint pain is inconclusive. People with joint pain, especially arthritis, can be especially sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and temperature. Possible reasons for pain and stiffness include:
- The cartilage that cushions the bones inside the joint is worn away and nerves in the exposed bones may be more sensitive.
- Tendons, ligaments, muscles, and scar tissue expand and contract with air pressure and temperature changes.
- Cold, low temperatures thicken the fluid inside joints, causing stiffness.
- If it’s cold and rainy outside, you may stay inside and get less exercise.
A study from Tufts University found that every 10-degree drop in temperature combined with low barometric pressure corresponded to an incremental increase in joint pain. Researchers are not sure why this happens but suspect that certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in the joint capsule. You could predict the local weather based on your joint pain or predict your pain by the local weather. Check The Arthritis Index, which is based on a proprietary forecast by the meteorologists at www.AccuWeather. Enter your zip code and you can get your predicted joint pain level from low to extreme based on the weather where you live here.
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