Weather and Arthritis

Many arthritis sufferers claim their joints hurt more under certain weather conditions. Is it true? Can weather affect your joint pain? There are conflicting opinions on the matter and there is still really no agreement on this issue.

Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia have all been reported by people to be affected by the weather. The joints commonly believed to be affected are the knees, shoulders, hips and fingers. It appears that people are affected by changes in the weather, but it should be noted that not all sufferers are affected. It is not a consistent symptom throughout the arthritis disease.

What does the Research say?

Some studies have found a link between pain and weather and others haven’t. There are several reasons why it is difficult to find a cause and effect relationship. There are many different kinds of arthritis and studies tend to be focussed on pain felt by sufferers rather than blood tests of scientific values. Information gathered has therefore been subjective. Also there are a lot of factors in the weather that need ot be tested, no just temperature. Barometric pressure, rainfall, humidity, sun and many more. Thus many researchers are not convinced there is a link.

There are a couple theories as to why arthritis could be affected by the weather.

  • Changes in temperature can have an impact on tendons, muscles, bones and scar tissue. Cold temperature may expand or contract them, and warmth can help to relax them.
  • ┬áBarometric pressure changes can cause subtle movements in joints and increase the stiffness. This will make the pain response larger, in an already sensitive joint. Some studies suggest a low barometric pressure can make joints swell. These studies were not conducted with a lot of people and there is quite a lot of speculation surrounding them.

What is the bottom line?

Well it seems its an individual case. However what is consistent, is that is the change in weather that will cause the most problems. Not the actual climate itself. It isn’t true for all arthritis sufferers though and you really cannot predict what type of weather changes will bother each individual.

It should be noted also that only joint symptoms are affected by weather, if at all. Weather and climate will not cause arthritis and there is no evidence of different climates having more incidence of arthritis over another.