'I can feel it in my bones, a storm is coming'
Have you ever heard someone claim to feel a storm coming? It sounds silly, how could someone predict weather changes in their bones? In fact, it is plausible that the weather could affect the body. This is due to the barometric pressure changes that happen prior to certain weather conditions and how they apply to your body.
One of the leading theories on how the weather can affect the body is through air pressure. Typically, people have reported increased pain during times of damp, rainy weather. The cause isn’t the temperature, wind, rain or snow, but the barometric pressure.
Barometric pressure (also known as atmospheric pressure) is the pressure exerted by the earth’s atmosphere. Simply put – the weight of the atmosphere on any given point on earth. These levels can fluctuate, decreasing at higher elevations and increasing below sea level.
Why Would The Weather Affect Me?
The body reacts to the atmospheric pressure through the tissues, commonly noticed in and around the joints. This is due to the tissues that surround the joints as they expand from air pressure changes. The atmospheric pressure will drop before bad weather, like a rainstorm. The lower air pressure causes less pressure on the body, causing the tissues to expand, and that expansion is what is felt on the joints.
While this is said to happen within all of us, those with nerve sensitivities or conditions are more likely to notice the change. Chronic pain sufferers, like those with arthritis, or someone who has nerves that have become more sensitive through injury, inflammation, or chronic conditions are more likely to physically feel any atmospheric pressure changes.
It's Not Just About The Joints
Aside from just the expansion of tissues and added pressure on the joints, it is said that a change in atmospheric pressure can also affect other areas of the body:
- Blood Pressure – Blood travels through our bodies through a pressure system thanks to the heart. If the pressure in the air around you drops, your blood pressure could drop as well. These changes could result in the constriction of the blood vessels, causing a feeling of dizziness or blurred vision.
- Headaches – A headache can be a result of a lot of things ranging from dehydration to an excess of caffeine, among many other things. In association to the atmospheric pressure, a lower level can cause headaches or migraines by means of the sinuses. The pressure difference between the atmosphere and the air-filled sinus cavities is the cause of a headache or migraine pain. If you suffer from blocked sinuses or congestion, the pressure change can worsen.
- Joint Pain – Not only is the atmospheric pressure a direct factor on the joints, the ambient temperature of the atmosphere can change and also influence the pain. This stands to reason that by adding heat to a swollen part of the body can ease pain symptoms. That same theory can be helpful in dealing with joint pain due to the drop in atmospheric pressure and temperature.
- Blood Sugar – When the weather changes drastically, such as a cold front moving into the area, the atmospheric pressure changes and the temperature drops. Both of these changes can cause the blood’s thickness to increase, which can make managing blood sugar levels more difficult. The blood sugar levels can become unstable if the air pressure were to drastically decrease due to possible trapped air within an insulin pump, delaying or altering the amount of insulin being delivered into the body.
Your Local Weather and Your Arthritis
Thanks to the Arthritis Foundation and www.AccuWeather.com, you can now search your ZIP code and verify your areas Current Arthritis Index. It will give you a meteorologist based breakdown of your area’s conditions for today and tomorrow. This tool can help predict the level of joint pain due to weather in your area. If you are predicted to experience an increase in joint pain, focus on keeping warm!
At Northeast Knee and Joint Institute, we can help you manage your pain and symptoms caused by arthritis. While we cannot change the weather, we offer a variety of services, such as Non-Surgical Knee Therapy, Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, and Stem Cell Therapy to help ease your pain and discomfort.
We Can Help! Contact us today for a risk-free consultation at either of our Williamsport or Dallas, PA offices.