Early spring is often marked by wind and rain that precedes the more welcoming warmth synonymous with late spring and summer.
Rainy, damp conditions may be great for homeowners looking to revitalize their lawns and gardens, but such conditions can wreak havoc on achy joints, especially for those who experience arthritis. Although there is no concrete proof to link aching joints and muscles with damp weather, rheumatologists are often asked why achy joints and muscles tend to ache that much more in damp weather.
Dropping barometric pressure, which occurs when rain is on the horizon, may cause tissues to swell. Swelling tissues in already inflamed joints can add to pain, especially if these tissues push into nerves and muscles in the area. According to a survey published in the journal Pain, two-thirds of people living with chronic joint pain believe there is a link between their pain and weather changes. Changes in humidity and temperature also may play a role, affecting pressure all over the body. Joint pain may not be the only effect, as some people get headaches as well.
While spring may be a painful time of year for sufferers of joint pain, there are steps such men and women can take to alleviate some of those aches. When rainy or cooler temperatures loom, try these ideas.
• See your doctor. If your pain is growing more severe, consult with your doctor, who may be able to develop a plan that helps you deal with the changing seasons more comfortably. Doctors may suggest chiropractic manipulation, or physical therapy or prescribe pain medications.
• Keep the body warm. Cold limbs and joints may be more prone to stiffness and pain. Dress in layers and use heating pads to combat chilly temperatures.
• Exercise painful joints. Rely on low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, to loosen up stiffness in the body. Loosening up and stretching before any intense workouts is recommended.
Rainy weather may be in the forecast, and that can mean increased pain for those with achy joints. Working with a medical professional can help take the "ouch" out of seasonal changes.