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Why Do My Joints Hurt When It Rains?

Posted on Monday, August 28, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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man holding irritated red knee with rain overlapping and font that says rain joint pain

Weather effects on the human body

Did you know that weather events and changes in season may affect the human body? For example, temperature extremes may worsen chronic conditions such as cardiovascular health, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes-related conditions, according to the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. Weather changes can also put stress on the body and interfere with the immune system. In fact, many people ponder this question: “Why do my joints hurt when it rains?”

Aching joints

Most people associate aching joints with aging or illness. Though children and adults can have arthritis, the most common type, osteoarthritis, generally affects older people. This causes joint inflammation and pain in individuals. Many people experience flare-ups of joint pain symptoms. Scientists are exploring how the main components of weather affect the  body. This includes conditions such as:

  • Temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Cloud formation
  • Wind
  • Humidity
  • Rain or snow

 

Temperature changes, humidity, and air pressure are known to affect equilibrium in the body. People become accustomed to weather and sudden changes cause the body to react. When bodies are unable to adjust, it can trigger physical reactions and conditions.

Can you really tell if rain is coming?

Some people can sense a change in weather without looking at the sky or hearing a weather report. Many folks experience joint pain flare-ups on days when rain is on its way. However, research is unclear in establishing a clear relationship between joint pain and rain. WebMD shares that there are a few theories about the pain/rain connection.

  • Possibly, above all in people with arthritis, nerves in exposed bones might be able to pick upon changes in pressure. This is suspected because the cartilage that cushions the bones inside is worn away.
  • Barometric pressure, the measurement of air pressure in the atmosphere, changes and varies across the globe. Changes in barometric pressure may make tendons, muscles, and scar tissue expand and contract and result in pain.
  • Weather may restrict activities and result in inactive joints which may increase feelings of stiffness and pain.

 

The above represent some theories that exist to address the question, “Why do my joints hurt when it rains?” At present, it remains unanswerable, indicating that more research is needed in the field to understand why some people experience elevated levels of joint pain during weather-related changes.

Luckily some pain management relief exists

  • Folks can do their best to keep their joints warm in cold weather. This includes having a safe and warm heating source within the home, wearing warm layers, and using an electric blanket, as examples.
  • Ice therapy may also reduce inflammation and numb areas experiencing pain.
  • Perform gentle and regular exercise, such as swimming or yoga, to keep joints in tip-top shape and to prevent stiffening.
  • Get sufficient sleep, and practice self-care such as eating healthy. Weight management can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints like knees and hips.
  • Avoid overstraining joints. Watch out for repetitive activities that can injure joints and avoid heavy lifting.
  • See your doctor regularly for joint and arthritis care. If advised, consider pain and joint management medications which can lessen the effects of joint pain.

 

In addition to asking, “Why do my joints hurt when it rains?” people also ask, “Why do my joints hurt in the cold?” For more information on the latter, click here. 

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a medical resource. See your doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment.

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