If you've never heard your own grandma say it, then you've surely heard it in the movies: "A storm is coming...I can feel it in my bones!" While predicting rain or snow based solely off of an arthritic episode may sound entirely crazy, it just might make a whole lot of sense. As the weather changes, it has a wide range of effects on our bodies - but people who suffer from joint pain seem to be affected more than those who don't.
What Exactly Does The Weather Have To Do With Joint Pain?
When the weather changes, so does something called barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere which surrounds and acts on our bodies. It is known to drop in cases of cold or wet weather, especially during the winter months. This decrease in pressure can affect the body in a multitude of ways, but it can be especially bothersome for those suffering from arthritis, sore joints, and muscular difficulties. In fact, a survey published in the journal Pain found that a whopping two-thirds of people suffering from chronic joint pain say that they believe there is a correlation between their pain and changes in weather.
But Why? And How?
Although there is not yet a clear proven answer as to why so many people experience this weather-induced pain, it is not just "in their heads" or to be disregarded as a superstition. Numerous studies have been conducted on this widespread problem, and although it is not yet completely understood why it might occur, there are a few theories of how it might.
The most common belief as to how this painful phenomena flares up for so many people is because that as the air pressure drops and there is less pressure being exerted onto the body, the tissues surrounding the joints begin to expand, putting an unpleasant pressure onto the joints.
Another belief focuses on the fact that when we start getting cold, our bodies begin to focus on sending blood mainly to vital organs such as the heart and lungs. This obviously means that there is a reduction of blood flow to other places - such as the hands, feet, and joints - which may become pained as a result.
Additionally, research from Tufts University has suggested that cold air may prompt changes in joint fluid thickness, which also may contribute to joint pain in the winter time.
So What Can I Do To Avoid Or Reduce Joint Pain In The Winter?
The best recommendation is that you wear numerous layers of warm clothing. While this may seem a bit obvious and vague, it truly does help. Wearing layers allows you to stay comfortably warm at all times, shedding layers or putting them back on as you feel necessary while venturing indoors and outdoors into temperatures that may vary from place to place.
Soak Up The Sun...Or At Least Swallow It
It has been found that people with lower levels of Vitamin D tend to have more severe symptoms from arthritis. Taking a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months will ensure that you maintain a sufficient amount of it in your body, despite infrequent or rare exposure to the sun.
Treat Yourself To A Bath
According to the Arthritis Foundation, soaking in warm water can greatly help to reduce joint pain. Warm water invigorates the circulatory system, stimulating blood flow to muscles and joints.
Stock Up On Naturally Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
There are many all-natural supplements, such as Omega-3 fish oil, and herbs that have very strong anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce the inflammation behind arthritic pain. Turmeric is probably the herb that is most famous for its ability to combat inflammation.
We offer organic, GMO-free turmeric in capsules, powder, tea, and extract.