weather-arthritisYou may have heard someone say, “Rain must be coming, I can feel it in my bones.” But, what exactly does that mean? Can they really “feel” the rain coming? Many arthritis sufferers claim they can predict rainfall due to the level of pain in their joints, and believe it or not, their weather forecasting might have some validity.

A recent study conducted focused on patients with chronic pain and surveyed if individuals felt an increase in pain when changes in weather occurred. Robert Jamison, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and Chief Psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Chestnut Hill said, “67.9 percent of the people surveyed responded that they were sure changes in the weather had an effect on their pain. Most of the patients reported that they can feel a change in their pain before rain or cold weather occur.”

Jamison revealed that the factor responsible for the increased pain is not necessarily the snow, rain or cold, but actually a change in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure (atmospheric pressure) is the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the atmosphere at any given point. As a storm system develops, the barometric pressure begins to drop. High barometric pressure pushes against the body from the outside and keeps tissue from expanding. So as the barometric pressure falls, tissues in the body may expand. As the tissues expand, they put more pressure on nerves that control pain signals.

So we know we can’t control the weather, so what can you do to prevent the aches and pains? Keep your body covered. The springtime brings a lot of rain so stay dry. Staying active despite the weather is also key. A body in motion stays in motion.

Many people still find it hard to get relief from the aches and pain that come with weather. At Performance Rehab and Integrated Medicine, we understand what you’re going through and we know how to make it better for you. We offer treatment options including pain management, physical therapy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, chiropractic, and massage therapy. Don’t let the weather affect your arthritis contact us for an appointment.