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Does the weather affect arthritis?

Does the weather affect arthritis?

People who suffer from arthritis can experience pain and inflammation in their joints at any time of the year, but symptoms are known to worsen in the colder months. Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

 

What is arthritis?

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but basically, arthritis is inflammation of the joints.

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning, says Healthline.

 

Why does the cold affect it?

Robert Jamison, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Chestnut Hill told Arthritis WA that the factor that may be responsible for increased pain is not snow, cold or rain, but a change in barometric pressure. Barometric or atmospheric pressure is the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the atmosphere at any given point. When a storm system develops, the barometric pressure will begin to drop.

Many people use exercise to help minimise the effects of arthritis. Exercise has even been proven to assist with pain management. Colder weather is said to affect the frequency and vigour with which people exercise, which means that sufferers will see symptoms return and worsen in winter months.

 

How to combat joint pain in winter

Experts suggest that exercise be maintained in winter months, perhaps relocating to a more convenient, warmer environment.

Perhaps exercise at home, instead of having to travel to the gym. A great alternative is to do some stretching or light exercises while watching TV.

Indoor swimming is also highly recommended, as well as using the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. Be as physical as possible around the house.

Ask your doctor to prescribe a good pain killer and anti-inflammatory to use on particularly difficult days.

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