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Why Do I Ache More When The Weather Changes?

Most people in New England associate the fall with the changing color of the trees, falling leaves, pumpkins and football.  Unfortunately, like football players many of us also get aches and pains this time of year.  Unlike the players who can point to a hard hit, or pushing their bodies to extremes as the source of their pain, many of us suddenly find that we are achy, stiff and sore for apparently no reason.    In addition the fall, many people note that when a storm is coming, they can feel it “in the bones”.

While the actual mechanism isn’t known, many researchers point to barometric pressure as the problem.  Robert Jamison, a researcher at Harvard University, found that many people with chronic pain could tell the day before a storm arrived because their pain intensified.

What causes us to feel this way?

When barometric pressure drops, as it does when a “low pressure” system or storm is coming, the atmosphere around us actually puts less pressure on the tissues surrounding joints and those tissues can expand.  When the tissue expands it can put pressure on the joints.  If you’ve ever flown in an airplane and noticed how much your hands and feet swell during the flight, you’ve experienced a similar phenomenon.

If you think the answer is simply to pack up and move somewhere warm and dry, don’t sell your home too quickly.  People that live in San Diego actually notice changes with smaller changes in their weather patterns.  Why?  Because their weather is mostly mild, and even small changes to them are noticeable.

What can we do to reduce the pain?

Take care of your joints and muscles, with regular exercise, and continue chiropractic care to make sure those joints are moving optimally so they have less tendency to get irritated and cause pain.  Heating the joints helps them relax and may help you loosen up first thing in the morning.  Also supplementation such as chondroitin and glucosamine can help to provide the building blocks necessary to keep your joints healthy.

Written by: Dr. Mark Friedman, Owner and Chiropractor at RightSPINE Chiropractic Neurology


1 Join the Conversation

  1. Dottie Corbett says
    Nov 19, 2015 at 11:56 AM

    I liked this article on achy joints when the weather makes a lot of sense.

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