Orthopedic Specialists

Do Your Joints Forecast the Weather?

August 27, 2018

Do your joints tend to be more stiff and achy when the weather changes? Scientists have tried to explain this connection for years and are still not 100% positive of their results; however, more than 60% of osteoarthritis patients report their symptoms vary with weather conditions. 

Studies have found a potential link between atmospheric conditions (temperature, pressure, and humidity) and the severity of arthritis symptoms. It seems that for some people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as a cold front or warm front approaches or stalls, their symptoms become worse - more pain and stiffness.  Once the front moves on, the pain and stiffness tends to lessen. 

As barometric pressure falls (like before and during a storm) the pressure inside your joints changes, which may impact the nerve endings around those joints. Ligaments contain specialized stretch receptors.  These stretch receptors, particularly in joints that may have arthritis, could be hypersensitive.  Small changes in atmospheric pressure, may in fact allow these receptors to fire which may cause the increase in pain. Some arthritis patients also experience increased pain and stiffness when the humidity and barometric pressure levels rise.

These aches and pains have also been attributed to the weather in terms of activity levels.  When it is sunny and pleasant outdoors, people are in better spirits and participate in more activities thus getting more movement.  When the weather is cold and damp, the general mood is not as “sunny” and people are less likely to be outside doing activities.  More activity equals less aches and pains with nice weather, and the opposite would tend to be true in colder weather, less activity and more aches and pains. 

Every person has a different response to these atmospheric conditions, but you may be one of those people who indeed are able to forecast the weather by your level of pain or stiffness in your joints. 

« Back

© 2024 Orthopedic Specialists. All rights reserved.