Weather and joint pain: It’s no wives’ tale

Can the weather really cause joint pain? It’s no wives’ tale — people with arthritis really may be able to tell when the weather is going to change.

“Barometric pressure, which is the weight of the air surrounding us, often drops significantly before a cold front or storm moves in,” said Duncan McKellar, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Carrollton. “This translates into less external pressure on the body, which allows tissues around the joints to expand and irritate nerve endings.”

Cold weather may also worsen symptoms by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow, causing stiffness, Dr. McKellar said.

The next time the weather gives your joints grief, try these tips for relief:

Warm up

Keep your home well heated and warm up your car before driving to reduce cold-weather-related joint pain.

Stop the swelling

Wear compression stockings or gloves to minimize swelling when the weather shifts. “You can also take an anti-inflammatory
medication like ibuprofen,” Dr. McKellar says.

Stay active

Walk or perform other low-impact indoor activities to help move synovial fluid through your joints, which can help reduce stiffness
and pain.

Tired of joint pain? Discover how you can move better.

About the author

More articles

This content has been written or reviewed by a member of the Baylor Scott & White Health medical staff.

Leave a Reply

Weather and joint pain: It’s no wives’ tale