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Tags: arthritis | weather

Arthritis: Dealing With Weather Changes

By    |   Tuesday, 22 September 2015 10:51 PM EDT

When one season gives way to another and the weather shifts with it, people with arthritis often claim they can feel the change in their bones. Considered equal parts folklore and science, this phenomenon is not without its share of remedies.

Scientists linked weather-related joint pain to changes in ambient temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity, according to a landmark 2007 Tufts University study.

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To help prepare you for future changes in the atmosphere, provides an Arthritis Index widget for local weather forecasts, which defines conditions as Beneficial, Neutral, or Arthritis Pain.

Visitors to the site can look up a month’s worth of localized weather predictions, which is helpful when making travel arrangements or planning for the days ahead with arthritis.

Based on information provided by AccuWeather, the Arthritis Foundation has a searchable tool that indicates current local conditions on a five-grade scale for possible joint pain: Low, Moderate, High, Very High, and Extreme.

Here are a few strategies to relieve sudden and temporary joint pain caused by weather changes:

Keep Moving
A byproduct of being stuck inside due to winter weather is that people are less active, which can indirectly lead to joint pain and stiffness for arthritis sufferers, according to Dr. James Fant, director of rheumatology at the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine's University Specialty Clinics.

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"A lot of the rheumatic conditions I treat become worse with a sedentary lifestyle — a condition that is more prevalent in the winter months," said Fant.

Drink More Water
Dr. Michael Gleiber, an orthopedic surgeon, said the best way to combat arthritis pain from humidity is to stay hydrated. According to Gleiber, high humidity increases blood pressure and loss of fluids, both of which can increase joint pain. This advice goes double in the middle of sultry summers as the heat and humidity can drain you faster.

Bring The Heat
Whether it’s a heating pad, a warm bath, a big blanket, or a heavy coat, find ways to keep yourself warm in colder temperatures to ease arthritis joint pain.

Relocating to a warmer climate, however, won’t necessarily be a remedy as changes in atmospheric pressure independent of the ambient temperature have been linked to increasing joint pain also.

All’s Well That Ends Swell
Dr. David Borenstein, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, told WebMD that arthritis sufferers should wear “Spandex gloves at night to try to keep fluid out of the joints.”

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Work Out The Kinks
Massage therapy is a great way to relieve a temporary flare-up of joint pain.

Get Help
Talk to your doctor about which over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers are right for you.

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When one season gives way to another and the weather shifts with it, people with arthritis often claim they can feel the change in their bones.
arthritis, weather
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 10:51 PM
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