Arthritis and osteoarthritis are two common diseases that affect joint health most often in the senior population. These conditions are often caused by joint inflammation which results in chronic pain. The symptoms of arthritis usually begin in the morning. Typically, if you are suffering from arthritis, you will experience pain and stiffness for 30 minutes after you wake up. Fortunately, the pain gets better as the day progresses. This is because you are moving around, which improves flexibility and joint function.
Osteoarthritis functions differently. It often results in some pain and stiffness in the morning, but not as much as arthritis. However, symptoms of osteoarthritis get worse as the day progresses. Even though both arthritis and osteoarthritis are different in their severity of symptoms, they do share a quirky commonality. Both conditions can help predict the weather. In fact, people with arthritis and osteoarthritis may be able to replace meteorologists because of their ability to predict their local weather conditions more accurately.
Since arthritis patients often have sensitive nerves, those nerves can become more sensitive during colder seasons. Patients often complain of more severe pain during the winter. This is because cold weather causes your achy joints to become stiffer, while irritating the nerves within your body and tightening up your muscles. This can exacerbate the pain of arthritis. Shivering and shaking, due to the cold, can agitate your muscles and joints. This can often cause more pain and agony. As the weather gets colder, the first thing people with arthritis will notice is a shift in their joint pain. When patients feel an increase in pain, they know that winter is coming.
Rain often occurs in colder seasons. It can aggravate your arthritis more severely than cold weather alone. This is because rain can directly hit you. When rain falls on your body, the nearby nerves can sense it immediately and can cause muscle spasms, shivers, tremors, muscle stiffness, or anything that signals the sympathetic system to warm the body. A slight movement in response can further aggravate your joints. Often, there is a drop in temperature before it begins raining. Lower barometric pressure in addition to rain and cooler temperatures can further exacerbate your pain.
Warm weather affects the body differently than cold weather. Warmer temperatures can actually reduce the symptoms of arthritis. This is primarily because warmer weather tends to relax your muscles and shuts down your body’s shivering mechanism. When your muscles are relaxed, you are less likely to experience arthritis pain. Warmer weather will dilate your blood vessels to promote blood flow to your muscles and joints. This can improve your arthritis and help you cope with the pain. Often times, patients claim that when they experience improvements in their joints, they know that summer is approaching.
The most popular question arthritis patients have is, “Should I move to a place that is warmer to alleviate my joint pain?” If the weather significantly affects your arthritis, then it is best to live in a warmer state such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida or Texas. However, if you unable to move, there are other ways to manage your arthritis. Heating pads can protect you from the cold weather and reduce your pain. When you experience major joint pain during the winter, you can wrap a large heating pad or a heated blanket around your joints to keep your body warm.
You can also combat your pain by keeping your body healthy. Consider taking joint supplements such as chondroitin and hyaluronic acid to keep your joints healthy. Taking oral anti-inflammatory medications can also ease your symptoms. Steroid injections may temporarily relieve your pain during the winter months but can only be administered by a doctor. Other alternative treatments, such as massage therapy and yoga, may help improve muscle relaxation and flexibility within your joints. There are plenty of tips and strategies when it comes to managing your arthritis. Visit your healthcare provider to discuss potential treatment options and which is best for you.
Arthritis can be debilitating. Even though it can help you predict the weather, it can be a difficult condition to deal with. If have been diagnosed with arthritis, there are many courses of action you can take to mitigate the situation. Since arthritis related pain tends to flare up during colder seasons and on rainy days, you should keep yourself warm and stay indoors to prevent further aches and pains. You can improve your health by being compliant with your medications, by attending physical therapy sessions and asking your doctor about other treatment options.
At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we are passionate about improving your life through pain management. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our medical specialists who can design a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Begin managing your pain today!