Pain and stiffness are often amplified by the weather, depending on who you ask.
Studies have been done to help quantify this phenomenon and most of the studies are inconclusive. Older folks with chronic pain are quite familiar with it.
In our Scotch Plains office, it is much more challenging to stay on schedule when the weather is bad, as it appears everyone is much more sore than usual and they require more work.
To understand the phenomenon, you must understand what barometric pressure does. As we are estimated to be made of 60 percent water, when a barometric pressure low occurs in the atmosphere. Lows come in and are associated with bad weather while high’s are associated with good weather.
The water barometer is a device invented years ago that shows the effect of water in the container as the air pressure goes low. Basically, the water volume appears to rise which helps accurately predict the weather.
An argument can be made that we are weather barometers since we are mostly made of water and that low pressure will enhance inflammation in the cells, making pain worse. This phenomenon is often how I explain to patients why weather changes make them hurt. The good news is that on days like this, the phones at chiropractic offices ring because chiropractic relieves the pain naturally, by improving how you function and move.
The NY Times recently offered its own explanation of this common phenomenon. Check it out below
Why Do Weather Changes Make My Pain Worse?
Some people experience pain flares from healed injuries or chronic conditions when it’s cold or raining. Are the two actually connected?
Q: Why do old injuries hurt more when the weather changes?
There are plenty of reasons to dislike chilly, wet weather, including its potential effects on our bodies. People often complain that pain from old injuries, such as broken bones or sprains, and from chronic conditions like arthritis, flares up when it’s cold or raining. Hippocrates made similar grumbles some 2,500 years ago.
“It’s certainly something that I have observed in my own patients,” Dr. Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, a professor of orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation at the University of Chicago Medicine, said. “Patients say, ‘I can tell when it’s going to rain. I can tell when it’s going to snow.’”
While doctors agree that such complaints are common, the reasons behind the phenomenon remain unclear. Little research has been conducted on the issue, and some of the studies that do exist have led to confusing and contradictory conclusions. Other studies, however, seem to suggest that changes in the weather can induce swelling and affect how nerves surrounding injured or inflamed tissues communicate with the brain. This brings back or amps up feelings of pain.
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