The Battle of Arthritis

There’s an old myth that’s gone for decades about joint pain and weather predictability. Does pain in your knee or ankle really mean a storm is soon approaching? While there’s no scientific evidence of this, there have been links between seasonal change and arthritic pain.

Arthritis is a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease, and there are over 100 different types and related conditions; the main two being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children, of all ages, sexes, and races. Some of the common symptoms associated with arthritis include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Stiffness and decreased range of motion

Per the Mayo Clinic, there are multiple risk factors associated with arthritis that may make one more susceptible to the symptoms. For example:

  • Family History
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Previous joint injury
  • Obesity

Since we’re amid a seasonal turnover, it’s important we focus on how change may affect the experience of those with arthritis. Although symptoms come and go, varying in intensity from person to person, Joint Essential identified seasonal factors that may impact arthritic pain.

  • Exposure or intensity of sun-rays – A study conducted showed intensity and frequency of pain attacks decreases during warm weather months.
  • High vapor pressure – High pressure of water vapors have a positive effect on arthritis symptoms. A person may be more likely to experience disturbing symptoms on rainy days than dry ones.
  • Temperature change – Extreme temperatures (freezing winter days, or excessive heat warning summers) can aggravate the intensity of symptoms.
  • Changes in air-pressure – This can lead to flaring of symptoms of arthritis. High barometric pressure pushes against the body and doesn’t allow tissue to expand, causing severe pain and swelling.

Humidity, precipitation, and even wind speed may also play a factor in arthritis pain, however, Joint Essential also highlighted ways to manage pain during weather change. The following are suggestions:

  1. Learning root cause – It’s imperative to know which type of arthritis you have. However, what’s even more important is understanding the root cause of your symptoms and how to deal with them, or distract yourself from them.
  1. Home exercising/gym training – Spring and summer months are known for increased hours of physical activity, and thus helps with steady circulation of the joints.
  1. Hydrotherapy – Excellent for alleviating joint swelling and edema in patients with flaring episodes of arthritis.
  1. Keeping warm – Although there is a lot more sun to absorb during the spring and summer months, there are times you’re indoors with an air conditioner blasting. It’s important to adjust the room temperature to your comfort level to ease symptoms.
  1. Massage therapy – Similarly to exercising, massages help with circulation across joint surfaces. You can enjoy massages in any season, but if that’s not a preferred method, there’s also physical therapy, acupuncture, or yoga.

While everyone is affected differently throughout seasonal change, it’s important to take preventative measures so your joints and tissues aren’t damaged, and your ability to function and perform day-to-day operations isn’t endangered. Reach out to your R-Health doctor to discuss your symptoms, and follow us for more helpful health and wellness tips.

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