Weather prediction is not the most reliable of pursuits (ask anyone who has watched a news weatherman…). However many of my clients will swear that they know the weather is worsening because of their joint pain. This can raise a lot of questions, such as why an arthritic knee would hurt more if its cloudy outside, or more basic, what even is arthritis. Some may want to consult their magic eight ball for answers but hopefully the information below can provide some insight.
What is arthritis
Many people come to me and report that the doctor has diagnosed them with arthritis…. Sounds pretty serious right. Well we may have to put a hold on an amputation, because everyone over 40 has arthritis, and most people under 40 have it as well. Arthritis is the result of normal wear and tear of a joint, where the cushioning and space between 2+ bones thins. This can cause pain, but for most people with arthritis it does not cause any pain at all. People report they have “bone on bone arthritis” which is another way of saying the same thing, except that the arthritis/wearing down has progressed.
What Should you Do?
1. If you have no pain or limitations then there is no reason to do anything. However for overall wellness and pain prevention, maintaining an active lifestyle of both resistance (weight) and cardio training is recommended to prevent worsening or onset of symptoms.
2. If it does hurt, then its time to see a physician or PT.
3. Last resort is joint replacement: This is only appropriate if your first your daily life is significantly impacted by the pain, secondly, medicine and PT fails and lastly, it is recommended by a surgeon. Some people think they need a joint replacement, however seeing a PT can sometimes avoid this.
Why does bad weather effect my joint pain.
The literature reports an inconclusive or contradictory connection between joint pain and the weather. Most studies showed mild to no connection between joint exacerbation and the weather. If an article did show a connection, the weather parameters that were associated with increased pain were a decrease in barometric pressure and decrease in temperature (aka rain/humidity and cold weather). Although these studies show little to no clinical relevance between weather and joint pain, one cannot deny the number of people who beg to differ.