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Weathering the pain

Weathering the pain.

You feel it in your bones, but is it just an old wive’s tale? Or can joint pain actually predict weather changes?

My Grandfather always seemed to know when it was going to rain or whether there was a storm brewing long before it arrived. He wasn’t a weather man, he was a human barometer! When his knee started hurting it was time to put on your coat and get the brollies ready.

Believe it or not, your weather forecasting elbow and my Grandfather’s knee might have some validity thanks to the effects of barometric pressure changes on the body.

Changes in temperature or barometric pressure (a measure that refers to the weight of the surrounding air) can trigger joint pain.

If you imagine the tissues surrounding your joints like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding.

Usually before bad weather sets in barometric pressure drops. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint sometimes causing pain because nerves may have become more sensitized because of injury and inflammation or chronic problems such as arthritis.

In 2007, researchers in Boston reported that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an incremental increase in arthritic pain!

Tomorrow’s outlook is Sunny!

We are all less active in cold weather and as our muscles get used less, they can tighten causing them to ache. Increasing the flow of blood to your muscles can help them to relax and become less prone to tightness or spasm. So wrapping up warm and getting out for a walk is a really good thing. But if snuggling up indoors is more appealing, applying heat can also help muscles relax by increasing their core temperature, so it’s a soothing way of helping with pain.

But a more beneficial solution is Massage.  There is a tonne of research proving the benefits of regular massage on people with arthritis and joint pain and it is known to significantly reduce pain and stiffness in muscles and increase joint motion. So cold weather pain as the barometer would say, is changeable!