Can Weather Affect Arthritis?

There are some pretty wild ways to predict the weather, and while many of these methods are certainly entertaining, they aren’t always scientific. Cutting open a persimmon won’t tell you how much snow we’re going to get, and don’t count on a caterpillar to provide accurate information about how harsh the winter will be. Of course, there are also people who will tell you that they can predict the weather based on a sensation in their shoulder or knee. Is this just more superstition, or can people really predict the weather based on a feeling in their joints?

You might be quick to dismiss these claims as nonsensical, or write them off as old wives’ tales, there’s actually some scientific evidence to suggest that people can feel changes in the weather.

Changing barometric pressures can increase the amount of pain felt by those with arthritis. Studies have found that barometric pressures affect the pressure inside of joints. When the pressure remains constant, or changes gradually, the pain felt is far less severe than when the pressure changes rapidly. Sudden changes in barometric pressure typically occur when there are changes in the weather, such as precipitation.

Temperature has been shown to affect arthritis as well. This is especially true when temperatures are falling. A 2007 study found that there was an incremental increase in pain for every 10-degree drop in the temperature.

So it turns out that there is some truth to being able to predict changes in the weather based on a feeling in your ankle or elbow. Of course, feeling pain in your joints is not going to give you as much insight into the weather as a Dopler radar.

For many, arthritis is more than just slightly uncomfortable or a quaint way to predict the weather. Arthritis can be a serious problem that can make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. If you suffer from arthritis, consider meeting with the rheumatology experts at MANA.