Why Rain Causes Joint Stiffness for Arthritis and RSI

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 22:34

The first major storm of the season hit the San Francisco Bay Area today, causing freeway snarls, nearly-drowned cars-and a lot of stiffness in my joints.

Why does rain and weather change affect joint stiffness? I had to do some research to find out.

Arthritis sufferers in particular have been reporting this phenomenon for many years, and the first study was done in 1961. They used a small sample of only 12 subjects, and found that the combination of high humity and low barometric pressure caused the increased stiffness.

When air pressure is low, tissues in your joints can expand and put more pressure on the joint, which makes it harder to move. The cold can also slow down our bodies and make it a little harder to get around.

Creating Better Conditions

One patient felt so much better after a vacation that he allegedly decided to build a room in his house that replicated the ideal conditions of his trip. His new chamber controlled and increased the air pressure and helped him improve and get off his meds. As a result, his doctor conducted a study of 30 patients on a similar machine and reported that the increased air pressure helped patients feel better. However, there were side effects-ear pressure and sinus pressure among them.

What you can do

I certainly don’t expect that any of us will be building our own special rooms to get over our joint stiffness. But there are some simpler steps-

  • stay warm…wear gloves
  • use heat packs and bundle up
  • use a dehumidifier – since research shows the combo of low pressure and high humidity increases stiffness, dehumidifying should help to improve the problem
  • try soaking the joint in warm water or contrast baths
  • use paraffin wax treatments (directions here)
  • stretch and stay limber during the day

    Hope you enjoy the rain, stay dry, warm, and flexible!

    Related posts:

    1. Contrast Baths — Relieve Stiffness, Swelling and Pain without Ice
    2. New Research: Holding A Stretch Can Weaken Muscles
    3. Paraffin Wax Therapy –Directions for Relieving Pain and Stiffness — Part 2 of 2
    4. Coban — Stretchy Stuff for Carpal Tunnel issues
    5. Wear Gloves to Stay Warm While Typing
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    3 Responses to “Why Rain Causes Joint Stiffness for Arthritis and RSI”

    1. Necessity and ‘60%’ Yoga | All about Yoga says:

      October 31st, 2009 at 12:50 pm

      [...] Why Rain Causes Joint Stiffness for Arthritis and RSI [...]

    2. joint stiffness says:

      November 4th, 2009 at 5:47 am

      Women are more commonly affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis as compared to men. Rheumatoid Arthritis affects people falling between the age group of 25-45 years. Swelling in wrists and hands characterize the joint stiffness associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The organs which are mainly affected by this type of joint sickness are knees, feet, neck, shoulder, elbows, fingers and wrists.

    3. Amy Hengst says:

      November 13th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

      That is an interesting statistic, because women are also more affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (and other Repetitive stress injuries, I believe).

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