April is a month that’s traditionally recognized for its spring showers. Although nearly everyone enjoys May flowers, nobody enjoys the joint pain that many people experience during cool, rainy weather. In fact, a recent survey disclosed that two-thirds of those people who have chronic joint pain believe there’s a correlation between changes in the weather and their pain. Although it may seem that the damp, rainy weather is the cause, experts believe that it’s actually barometric pressure changes that may be the bigger culprit.
When the barometric pressure drops before a storm, the lower air pressure pushes less against the tissues of the body, allowing them to swell, and putting pressure on the joint. When a high-pressure system moves in, the increase generally brings relief from the pain. Additionally, altitude affects barometric pressure. There’s less pressure at higher altitudes than at sea level.
However, cold can cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stiffen, so taking certain preventative steps can lessen discomfort. Stretching well before any cool weather activity, in addition to wearing warm, layered clothing for protection from the weather can help.
Since heat relaxes muscles, the use of heat creams, heating pads, or electric blankets can provide extra relief. In addition, putting clothing in the dryer to warm them before dressing can help soothe pain.
Some people, especially those with arthritis, may need to increase their pain medication during weather changes. Fortunately weather-related pain is temporary, and should improve as barometric pressure adjusts.
At Spine & Orthopedic Center, we know how difficult weather-related joint pain can be. If you would like more information on joint pain causes and ways to alleviate it, please call or visit Spine & Orthopedic Center today.