Why Your Joints Ache When It Rains

April 11, 2018

Why Your Joints Ache When It Rains

By Dr. Richard Garian

This mystery has baffled scientists for decades, and the “why” continues to elude them.

What they do know is this: Weather clearly affects people who live with chronic joint pain.

For generations, people have been predicting the weather – almost always accurately – based on how much their joints were aching. Doctors report that more than 60% of their osteoarthritis patients complain that weather conditions impact both pain and stiffness – not enough to send them to bed for the day, but enough to be noticeable and limit some activities.

Several studies bear this out: A variety of weather-related factors seem to increase joint pain, especially when the temperature or the barometric pressure drops, or when rain falls. Here’s a brief look inside a few of the many published weather-arthritis impact studies:

  • Researchers at Tufts University discovered that osteoarthritis knee pain increased in proportion to every 10-degree decrease in temperature
  • A Norwegian study found that “pain was significantly associated with 3 or more weather variables” in some rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • The six-country EPOSA (European Project on OsteoArthritis) study – which included 810 patients with osteoarthritis of the hands, knee, or hip – found that higher humidity, especially in colder weather, increased joint pain and stiffness… especially in older adults

So if people have been telling you “it’s your imagination” when you tell them your knee knows that it’s about to rain…it isn’t. Weather can absolutely affect your joint comfort – even if scientists still can’t quite figure out why.

Interested in predicting your weather-related pain level? Visit www.accuweather.com and click on the arthritis link under the “Personalized Forecasts” tab. It will help you figure out which days you might need extra joint support, so you can get ahead of the pain and stiffness bad arthritis weather can bring.

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