Nine Tips for Dealing With Cold Weather and Arthritis
"I can tell you a ton of medical changes people report related to the weather," said Brenda Stiverson, a registered nurse and manager of the Center for Joint Replacement at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla.
If you have gout, fibromyalgia or any of the other more than 100 identified conditions associated with arthritis, you probably felt the latest snow fall "in your bones."
Barometric pressure (the weight of the atmosphere over a given area of the earth's surface) appears to be a real indicator.
"When barometric pressure goes up, very often people report a decrease in their arthritis symptoms," Stiverson said. "When barometric pressure goes down, they very often say their pain increases."
High humidity also seems to have an effect. One theory, she said, is that different body tissues have varying densities that contract and expand in response to the chill.
But while researchers look for answers, Stiverson said their are a few things people with those pains can do to ease their aches, both immediately and in the long run:
- Warm baths and hot pack application can help ease pain, while ice can reduce inflammation and swelling to relieve the pain. Alternating heat and ice for 10 minutes of both can give you the best of both worlds, she said.