Weather and joint pain. Is there really a connection? Many older adults think so. In fact, in some cases, you’ve heard them predict the weather better than the meteorologist.
However, the scientific evidence is inconclusive and is sometimes contradicting. Those that suffer report flare-ups when the barometric pressure decreases, the temperature drops, or rain is imminent.
Researchers assert that the change in weather could cause swelling in the joint capsule. Whether science can prove the connection or not, here are five ways to soothe your joint pain when the weather changes.
1. Keep warm
Be sure to cover your arms and legs during the cool weather. Dress in layers so you have the option to remove items of clothing when you enter a warmer environment. At night, use an electric blanket and be sure your room is well-heated.
2. Be active
It goes without saying that muscles that move are stronger! Exercise increases muscle and bone strength. Yoga, swimming, and walking are not only gentler on the joints but help increase joint mobility, which can reduce stiffness. Don’t strain your joints by doing unnecessary lifting and be sure to warm-up your muscles before doing any form of exercise.
3. Warm baths and hot compresses
A bit of rest and relaxation in warm water can be very soothing to your achy joints. The heat relaxes the muscles and increases blood flow. A hot compress or hot water bottle will also do the trick.
4. Paraffin wax
Speak to your doctor about using paraffin wax. The moist heat is known to reduce pain and stiffness in the joints.
5. Over-the-Counter medication (OTC)
You doctor might recommend mild pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If the pain is severe, prescription drugs are also available.
There are many underlying causes for joint pain and stiffness. While the weather may exacerbate your joint pain, it’s important to determine the root cause. Aside from age, joint issues can be a result of:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Bone cancer
Proper treatment and pain management is dependent on an accurate diagnosis. So when the temperature drops, the barometric pressure rises, and your knee begins to ache, take a warm bath. And then, call and make an appointment with your doctor.