We all have an elderly relative who will loudly proclaim, “Rain is on the way. My knees are aching.” Turns out, it may not be all in their head. Many people living with arthritis experience increases in joint pain when the weather changes. The days of spring and early summer typically bring temperature changes and damp, rainy weather that increase the pain of arthritis.
What is Arthritis
If you don’t have arthritis, you likely know several people who suffer from this common ailment. Worldwide, 350 million people are affected by arthritis, with pain in the knees, back, hands, and other joints.
What Causes Aches and Pains When the Weather Changes
67.9% of people in North America with arthritis feel aches and pains when the weather changes. These aches and pains are caused by changes in the barometric pressure.
In simplest terms, barometric pressure is pressure applied to a surface from the weight of the atmosphere. As weather patterns change, so does the barometric pressure. As pressure on the outside of our body lessens, the tissues inside our body expand. When our tissue expands it begins putting extra pressure on our nerves and other tissues, causing pain.
How to Get Relief
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are several simple steps that can provide relief when arthritis flares up.
Exercise – Exercise is incredibly important for keeping arthritis in check. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improves general flexibility. Of course, always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program.
- Walk Around the Block – something as simple as routine walks around the neighborhood can make a tremendous difference in joint health. If it’s tough to get off the porch to go for a walk, our outdoors stairlifts may be just what you need. Both the FlexiBelt and the EasyBelt are designed to assist individuals who have difficulty walking without excess strain on the caregiver.
- Gentle Stretching – Stretching helps to keep joints moving, and keeps the muscles around the joints from becoming shorter and more difficult to move. Be sure to stretch at the least painful time of day for you.
- Swimming – Water supports your weight and relieves pressure on joints, allowing for more ease in movement.
- Dancing or Yoga – These types of activities allow you to have fun while keeping your joints moving and increasing flexibility.
Enjoy a Warm Bath – Warm water increases blood flow, easing stiff muscles and sore joints. Your bath should be warm, not hot, and should last about 20 minutes. It’s a good idea to get your joints moving while your body is relaxed.
Consult your doctor. If arthritis pain is preventing you from leading the life you desire, speak with your physician.
Moving joints with arthritis may be uncomfortable, or even downright painful. However, the last thing you want to do is quit moving, as that will increase pain and decrease mobility in the long run. As difficult as it may be, keep active for improved health.