Why Do My Joints Hurt When the Weather Changes?

If you haven’t experienced joint pain when the weather changes, you likely know someone who has. The pain can be from arthritis, an old injury, at the spot of a surgery, or just from sore joints. When the weather turns colder, brings rain, or changes significantly from one day to the next, pain often flares up. Why does this happen? Is there anything you can do to help lessen the pain? Dr. Grant Lisetor at Greater Life Chiropractic is here to answer those questions for you and point you in the right direction of finding natural relief from recurring pain.

Barometric Pressure Changes

While this theory hasn’t been proven, doctors and meteorologists have long claimed that changes in barometric pressure can bring about joint pain. Barometric pressure has to do with the weight or pressure of the air, which is thought to make the nerves expand and contract, which can bring about pain. Another theory in this realm has to do with irritation of the nerves, which may be more sensitive to pressure changes due to unhealthy tissue nearby, often caused by injury or arthritis.

Reduced Blood Flow

Particularly when it’s cold outside, people experience reduced blood flow, especially to the extremities. This is due to your body’s protective nature—it is working hard to stay warm and keep everything running smoothly, so it conserves energy by limiting the blood flow to the extremities. While this is great for keeping you warm and functioning well, it’s not great for pain in your hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, and knees. The cooler temperatures generally thicken the cushioning fluid near the joints, making them feel more stiffness and pain than they would on a warmer day.

Decreased Movement

When it’s cold outside, we tend to limit going out. We may not take a walk or run errands outside of the home like we normally would. Even if we already planned to stay indoors, the colder weather makes us more prone to curling up under a blanket than moving around and lubricating our joints. Reduced movement during the day decreases the already reduced blood flow to the joints, and it decreases the amount of joint fluid that is activated from movement, which brings about more pain, stiffness, and weakness in the joints.

Mood Changes

When it’s rainy, cloudy, cold, or dreary, our moods can be affected a great deal. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, and it can be difficult to overcome it. We know that barometric pressure changes can bring about headaches, and dreary days can put a damper on our moods, so the combination of not feeling great physically or mentally can cause more issues with your joints. This is not only about reduced movement and the pressure changes outside, but feeling sad, depressed, or lethargic can actually magnify how you feel pain, too. This means that feeling knee pain on a pretty day may not bother you, but feeling the same amount of knee pain on a dreary, cold day feels worse and feels more difficult to overcome.

Dr. Grant Lisetor can help with joint pain any time of year, but if you’re struggling with pain during weather changes and the colder season, it’s a great time to start chiropractic care. Dr. Grant and his team at Greater Life Chiropractic in Charlotte are passionate about serving the community with neurologically-based chiropractic care. Contact Greater Life Chiropractic to learn more about the many benefits of chiropractic and to set up your first appointment.