Joint pains during the change of seasons

Spring is definitely coming with a change of weather. It is the season of rains, winds, rapidly changing temperatures, and… joint pain associated with these meteorological phenomena.

People with rheumatism usually feel the weather changes more predominant and often predict the times when it will rain or change the temperature due to the joint pain associated with it.

Remember when we were children, it’s like each of us has a grandmother with a special talent for predicting weather changes, based on joint pain. In our turn, when we experienced feelings of discomfort, pain, or irritation at the onset of the cold and wet season, we attributed them to climate change.

But it seems that there are scientific truths about the grandmother’s beliefs. According to the researchers, the weather changes really have an impact on joint pain.

Find out below why our joints hurt in the rainy and cold seasons and what we can do to reduce these sensations!

Why does joint pain happen when the weather changes? 

Initially, the lamentations of people who attributed joint pain to climate change were considered mere popular superstitions. More recently, the findings of scientists validate these beliefs.

Robert Newlin Jamison, a professor at Harvard University, was one of the first scientists to reinforce ridiculed opinions with scientific arguments. In a published article, he presented his findings from a study of people with chronic pain in four American cities: San Diego, Nashville, Boston, and Worcester. According to the professor, two-thirds of his subjects said that climate change intensifies their pain. He also found that the same number of people were able to accurately predict the evolution of the weather based on the suffering in the body.

In other words, this is meteo-sensitivity. Meteo-sensitivity is defined as a phenomenon that manifests itself through the deterioration of health in response to changes in climatic conditions: temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, electromagnetic radiation, and the chemical composition of the air.

Some scientists – David Borenstein, a renowned rheumatologist at George Washington University Medical Center being one of them – say that low temperatures and humidity do not cause joint pain, but changes in atmospheric pressure are to blame. When the atmospheric pressure is high, the body tissues are practically “pushed”, being prevented from expanding. And when the pressure drops, the tissues stretch, therefore causing pain in the joints to happen.

Of course, the temperature changes are also to blame, the cold and humid weather causing us discomfort that prevents us from carrying out our normal activities, even if we are healthy. A 2014 study validates this view, stating that a 10-degree drop leads to an increase in pain, a phenomenon present, especially in arthritis sufferers.

Fast and unpredictable changes in the temperature and the humidity left behind by the rains are usually accompanied, in rheumatism, by the appearance of joint pains.

The reasons why the joint pain increases in intensity when the weather is unfavorable are not known exactly, but the research that has addressed this topic has identified a correlation between this and atmospheric pressure. 

Another possible cause of joint pain is the contraction of blood vessels, which further leads to the contraction of muscles and joints, a factor that promotes the intensification of pain.

Of course, joints that are already affected by rheumatism produce excess fluid – to the detriment of the cartilaginous tissue that would prevent their friction and erosion – and the joint becomes swollen and hot, this being an inflammatory response. Therefore, higher pressure values ​​that come with weather changes so often during Spring, are harder to cushion by a troubled joint than in a healthy joint, in which there is a balance between cartilaginous tissue and joint fluid.

Can we relieve weather-caused joint pains?

Now that we have determined that joint pain is caused by weather changes, we will provide you with some solutions that can ease your discomfort.

It is very important to take care of yourself, especially during this delicate time. Even if the first days of Spring are still chilly and the temperatures are still low, climate change is felt by the body. Wear thicker clothes when you go out even if it’s sunny, and in the house be careful to cover yourself with a blanket, if you spend several hours sitting on the couch in front of the TV or reading.

Exercise is always beneficial, and a few stretches of stretching after training will ease the joint pain of active people. Warm salt baths also soothe the joints, relaxing them thanks to their magnesium content. Massage with essential oils of eucalyptus, mint, sage, lavender, or mousetail, mixed with ultra-moisturizing base oils, such as coconut, olive, avocado, or grapeseed, is a much-desired treat, but also a way to ease the pain.

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral, turmeric is becoming more and more popular lately. From the ginger family, extracted from plants in India and Indonesia, the benefits of turmeric for joint pain are related to the prevention of discomfort rather than its treatment, according to different studies.

Last but not least, what plays an essential role in the well-being of people suffering from joint pain are biofeedback therapy sessions. Using a biofeedback device, therapists locate the exact joint affected by pain and relieve it through electromagnetic waves. A session usually lasts 1 hour or more but you will start to feel better right away. It is however recommended to continue biofeedback therapy for joint pains all throughout the season changing. 

Therefore, joint pain caused by climate change is a reality. However, this should not worry us so much, given the fact that we have natural solutions at hand, without side effects. These can alleviate our discomfort, helping us to live the beautiful life we dreamed of.