Does Weather Affect Pain?

What conditions are affected by the weather?

In the studies mentioned above, patients were living with chronic pain conditions that involved inflammation of the joints such as rheumatoid arthritis. The barometric pressure, or air pressure, is what’s said to cause higher levels of pain within the joints of individuals with these conditions. 

It is believed that people dealing with joint pain are sensitive to barometric pressure since the cartilage that provides cushioning between the bones is worn away. Because of this, the exposed nerves may be able to pick up on changes in air pressure. 

The other theory is that changes in air pressure can cause your muscles, tendons, and scar tissue to expand and contract, which would cause additional pain in the joints. For those that report having more joint pain on days that are cold, lower temperatures can make the fluid inside joints thicker, which can cause stiffness and pain. 

Cold weather can also affect activity levels, keeping you inside the house more often and having less movement, which is important for maintaining healthy joints. Over time, less movement can cause stiff, achy joints, especially with age. 

Tips for relieving weather-induced pain

 There are a few things that can be done to limit the amount of pain experienced during certain types of weather. Here are a few tips for the most common areas associated with pain on bad weather days: 

Knee pain:

The knees are the most common area that individuals complain of experiencing enhanced pain during certain types of weather. Knee pain can be lessened by laying with your knee straight and your heel propped up slightly. This helps to reduce some of the pressure on the joint. 

You can also use a cane in the hand that is opposite of the affected knee when walking. This helps if you find that your knee pain is significant enough to cause a limp. You can also begin seeing a physical therapist to help strengthen the muscles in your leg that will help support the knee. 

Hip pain:

If you experience hip pain, try practicing range-of-motion and flexibility stretches in order to loosen up the muscles and decrease stiffness. Gently stretching will help to ease the pain as well as reduce your chances of injury.

Practicing a gentle yoga or stretching routine can be a great way to help ease the pain and stiffness in the hip area. This will reduce the tightening and contracting of the muscles that can happen on cold, windy days. 

You can also try a warm bath with Epsom salt to help loosen the muscles and provide relaxation. Epsom salts are said to help with pain and muscle spasms, and the heat from the warm bath will help keep the muscles relaxed. 

Ankle & foot pain:

Just like with hip pain, it’s important to gently stretch your ankle to relieve pain and stiffness. You can gently rotate your ankle in circles to loosen up the muscles and to help strengthen and support your ankle, as well as your foot. This will relieve the pain when you’re walking or standing for long periods of time. 

Performing exercises that stretch the calf muscles will also help to keep the ankle more relaxed. You can try sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and gently lean towards them to feel the stretch in your calf muscles. 

You can also flex your toes and feet upwards to stretch the calves without leaning forward of you have back pain that prevents it. Warm foot baths with Epsom salts can also help to relieve any foot pain you may experience. 

As with any exercises, always be gentle with your body if you’re experiencing pain, and be sure to visit your doctor if you are concerned. As more research is done on the impacts of weather on pain, more solutions and treatments may also be discovered.

Sources: 
https://www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com/
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0180-3
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11838853/
https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/tips-to-ease-joint-pain

Scroll to Top