Posted on December 1, 2014
Have you noticed that as the seasons change and the cold, rainy weather returns that your knee suddenly aches a little
more? Or your wrist seems to always be the most painful right before a big storm? Well you’re not alone! Many people, most with chronic pain, do experience some change in their symptoms as the weather changes. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer exactly why this happens but researchers have come up with a few ideas.
The most popular theory deals with barometric or atmospheric pressure. This is the force that the atmosphere exerts on your body (and everything else on the planet) throughout the day. Normally, this force is fairly constant and that pressure can help keep joints from swelling or aching. When a storm is rolling in, the barometric pressure typically drops. This means that the daily pressure on your joints has decreased. Sometimes this allows the joint to swell and expand which can produce more pain and aching before the cold or rain even sets in.
Now you can’t change the atmospheric pressure but there are a few things you can try at home to alleviate those symptoms.
- Compression – try using an ace bandage or compression sleeve to put a little pressure back onto the joint to reduce swelling. Make sure you don’t cut off blood supply to your toes or fingers!
- Warm – make sure you dress appropriately for whatever conditions you will be going out in! Lots of layers will help keep the joint warm.
- Stay active – get those painful joints moving! It doesn’t have to be a lot or intense motion but getting stiff joints moving will help alleviate some of your symptoms.
If you continue to have pain, come in for an evaluation – there may be something else going on that is causing your pain including muscle weakness, lack of flexibility, joint stiffness, or difficulty coordinating movements. While we can’t change the weather, we can address all those other components that may be causing you pain. Give us a call today!
-Erin Bell PT, DPT