Some people swear they know when it’s going to rain because they get pain in their shoulder or soreness in their elbows. Some claim when it’s cold outside they experience back pain. So can your grandfather really predict the weather with his knees? Let our practitioner at Premier Chiropractic explain the relationship between pain and the weather. 


Research Against Weather-Related Changes

A study published by Harvard Health Publishing showed there was no connection between rainy days and joint pain. The study took into account more than 11 million medical visits. Two million of those occurred on rainy days, while nine million happened on dry days. The results indicated no uptick in cases on rainy days as opposed to dry ones. 

A 2014 study conducted in Australia showed no connection between back pain and rain. It also indicated there was no change based on air pressure. 

According to this research, any increase in pain you have has nothing to do with the weather. Researchers believe it could have to do with a person associating their pain with gloomy weather. This occurs because humans have a tendency to recall when two events happen but won’t remember when they didn’t occur simultaneously. Therefore, you may not realize there were plenty of rainy days when you felt fine.  


Research Indicating a Relationship 

The Cleveland Clinic published other data that showed a link between pressure changes and joint and tissue pain. Specifically, this research indicates when bad weather, or lower pressure, enters, there’s less pressure on the body. As a result, the tissue may swell more. That enlarged tissue may irritate the nearby joints. Cooler temperatures can worsen pain by making a person’s joints and ligaments stiffer than usual. It may also increase pain.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) notes that changes in barometric pressure can cause the expansion and contraction of muscles, tendons, and scar tissue. You may then notice these parts of your body may be sorer than usual. UPMC suggests a decrease in air pressure may make the joints more sensitive. This happens because a person with wear-and-tear arthritis has little to no cartilage, which is meant to cushion the bones. The nerves are then exposed and can pick up on those barometric changes.  

UPMC also states that cold temperatures change blood flow. Whenever it becomes cold out, your body responds by rerouting blood from your arms and legs to your vital organs, including your heart and lungs. The decrease in warmth to your joints will lead to discomfort. Not to mention, low temperatures cause the fluid in your joints to thicken. Ultimately, this will lead to an increase in joint stiffness. Another factor UPMC pointed out was the connection between inactivity and stiffness and pain. There’s less to do when the weather is unsuitable to go outside. 


General Recommendations About Joint Pain and Weather From Our Chiropractor 

Obviously, there’s research to support both points of view. Therefore, it’s important for you to listen to your body. If you feel the barometer dropping or the rain causing stiffness in those achy joints, try to stay active to avoid stiffness. 

Apply warm or cold to the area to reduce pain. Some people swear by alternating the two. The heat aids in joint lubrication and can also relax tight muscles. Not to mention, it gets the blood flowing to the region. On the other hand, cold may help with swelling by causing the blood vessels to constrict. 

Visit a chiropractor regularly. If you know your joints bother you more during one season than another, visit a chiropractor during that time to enhance your range of motion and function. See a chiropractic specialist all year long to prevent those spells during inclement weather. 

At Premier Chiropractic Center, we won’t deny you if you believe your joints act as weather vanes. Some research does show a connection. And we feel anytime we have a patient in pain, it’s a patient asking for our help, no matter what the underlying cause. 

Contact us today for preventative care or to combat any weather-induced joint pain by calling 205-519-4024. You may also use our appointment request tool.