I am not alone in this argument. How often do you hear people say “my joints hurt when it is cold or damp?” Apparently, there are studies that show that arthritis symptoms worsened in low barometric pressure and high humidity. However, there has always been disagreement on whether low pressure systems (damp, rainy and cold weather) could cause joints to swell causing stiffness and pain. Further, arthritis symptoms can be worse when the muscles around our joints are not strong or flexible enough. Well then, here is the correlation: cold weather stiffens muscles and this in turn worsens arthritis symptoms.
We are all unique in how weather affects us. It is ironic, however, that our arthritis can predict the weather (rainy weather for the most part), and many people have worse arthritis symptoms after a rainstorm. Further, areas that are rainy and damp have more arthritis cases than do dry and sunny areas. (I think I am moving to Arizona.)
The writers of Arthritis Today agree with arthritis suffers that weather does play a part in worsening arthritis symptoms. A 2007 Tufts University (Boston) revealed that every 10 degree drop in temperature added to arthritis pain. Increasing barometric pressure was also a pain trigger. The studies show that barometric pressure affects pressure inside the joints.
Well, I’ll be darn. Makes you want to hibernate for the winter. Actually, what I find disturbing is the countless research spent on the disagreement between whether cold and damp weather affects arthritis. All you have to do is ask someone who suffers. It seems like this is a universal understanding among sufferers and research money could be spent elsewhere.
I have had aches and pains for many winters before my diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis. If there is a correlation between weather and rheumatoid arthritis, it shouldn’t be that hard to diagnose people. But explain that to the thousands of people who suffer in silence for years, visiting one doctor to the next, wondering if it is all really in their heads.