Why Does Weather Make The Pain Worse?
Okay I know I can't be the only one who's pain and comfort is impacted by the ever changing weather! And this winter/spring has been the WORST!! In the last two weeks it seems like my pain has been almost constant. I think it's partially due to the fact that we've had 70-80 degree days with thunderstorms that turned into a 30-40 degree day with winter weathe !! Mother Nature sure has been a little confused as of late. I have never totally understood why the weather has such an impact on people with any kind of chronic pain. So I decided I would do a little research and share the information I've found!
Weather.com explained it like this, they say that the changes in barometric pressure are what causes the fluctuations in pain for everyone with arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis & fibromyalgia. Really, anyone who has chronic pain or migraines. It is said that any change in barometric pressure or change in the weight of the air that presses against the surface of the earth can cause headaches and increase joint pain. There have been studies done and published that show that two thirds of people with chronic pain in all parts of the US believes that there is a link in weather changes and increased joint pain and migraines. A study done with 800 Europeans with osteoarthritis found that 67% report that they feel that weather affects their pain!
Like those with chronic pain, migraine sufferers also report that their migraines are linked to weather patterns. It is believed that barometric pressure changes, along with changes in humidity and temperatures could potentially affect the pressure in the brain. Dr Steven Graff-Radford the director of a program for headaches at Cedar-Sinai states "Though the mechanism is somewhat unclear, what is quite clear is that overcast, cloudy and rainy days produce more migraines." Mayo Clinic says that for some people changes in weather may cause imbalances in chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, which can potentially cause migraines. Allergies are also a big cause of headaches (migraines) this time of year. It's getting warmer and all the things are blooming. If you have problems with allergies that lead to headache you need to be proactive. By taking antihistamines to help keep the allergies at a minimum. (Of course check with your doctor before taking any over the counter allergie medicines.)
One thing that everyone is sure of is that cold weather makes pain worse. Research has proven that when you are cold, your muscles, tendons, and ligaments tighten and become less flexible. One way to help reduce the pain due to cold weather is to stretch. Stretching will help to loosen those muscles, tendons and ligaments and help to make your body not so stiff and make it easier to move around. Even in days when you don't feel like being active, doing some sort of exercise is important. Inactivity can actually increase some types of pain.
After doing my research the main things I found is that there is a real link between weather changes and increased pain levels and migraines. It's great to know that it's not just me that experiences that! I know that I am not. But sometimes it feels like you are the only one dealing with an issue. The best thing we can do to deal with the increased joint pain is to try and stay active. I know that's much easier said then done. But especially this time of year when the weather is all over the place, staying active will help to keep you from getting stiff and having more pain. In reality all we can do is hope that Mother Nature settles down and the weather will become more stable.