Why does my arthritis feel worse when the weather is cold?

Do your joints ache more than usual when the cold weather is approaching? Can you often tell when a storm is coming because the pain in your knees or fingers tells you it’s on its way? Your kids may laugh when you tell them that your arthritis can predict the weather, but research shows there is some science behind this. 

Why do my joints feel worse when there is bad weather?

Arthritis is the pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints that can make it difficult to perform even the most basic tasks. Changes in the barometric pressure can make arthritis feel worse – barometric pressure is the measure of the air around you and how much force it is applying to your body. Low barometric pressure means that bad weather is on the way, and it can cause tissues to expand, putting pressure on your joints. If the temperature falls at the same time, the pain might be even worse, as this can cause fluids in the joint to become more thick. 

It's not just arthritis, though. Changes in barometric pressure have also been shown to cause other problems, such as migraines and nausea. 

What can I do about my arthritis?

If you suffer from arthritis, one of the best things you can do to help control it is to get consistent exercise. Lack of exercise leads to a decrease in strength and flexibility, and it can cause joints to become stiff and painful. If you can’t get outside to take a walk, even doing stretches or other simple exercises while watching TV can help. 

You should also ask your doctor about options for arthritis treatment. He or she may recommend starting with heat and ice therapy, medication, and rest. If your arthritis doesn’t improve, the next step may be corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injections. 

You don’t have to spend the fall and winter in pain. If you suffer from arthritis, Katayoun Motlagh, MD, can offer you a treatment to help you find relief and enjoy the winter weather a bit more. Call the Palmdale office today at (661) 947-6400 to discuss ways to treat your arthritis!

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