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Why do my joints hurt more with the weather change?

Why do my joints hurt more with the weather change?

by Dr. Doug Portman


This is a question that has been hypothesized for years by scientists and doctors. There has always been reports of people who have increased joint pain during rainy and cold seasons. It seems people who have a history of injuries or arthritis seem to notice change in seasons more than others. However, rain or snow have very little to do with the joint pain itself. The pain seems to be more associated with the change in barometric pressure that comes with the extreme weather patterns. When a cold front comes through it brings along a low pressure system. This pressure system is what pushes down on the earth’s surface. The less pressure pushing down on us, the more the tissues in our joints can swell and expand. Imagine a balloon being blown up.  If something is applying pressure to the balloon as it is being blown up, the balloon will not expand very quickly.  If nothing is applying force to that balloon, then the balloon will expand (swell) easier. When we have less pressure on us, this swelling could cause more irritation to an injured or arthritic joint causing increased pain.

Additionally, the pressurized cabin of an airplane, which is used to counteract the increased pressure as we climb into a higher altitude, could also allow our joint tissues to expand. This could be an additional reason people feel more pain getting off airplanes (along with the fact you are stuffed in a shoebox for a chair for several hours).

Many people feel like if they just moved to a warmer climate they would feel better. This may be true for a while, however, studies show that people who live in warm climates still experience the same changes in their bodies from even subtle pressure changes. This pain appears whether we live in Cincinnati or Arizona. Our joints can go through the same aches and pains. To aid in decreasing these symptoms, make sure you take care of injuries when they happen. By doing so, you will help in reducing further exacerbations during changes in barometric pressure in later years.


If you have any questions or you would like additional information please do not hesitate to call our office at 513-677-6787.

Dr. Douglas. R. Portmann DC,CCSP,CSCS
Wards Corner Chiropractic and Sports Rehab
550 Wards Corner Rd.
Ste. 101
Loveland Ohio 45140



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