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What is Seasonal Joint Pain?

There are a lot of people who claim that they can accurately predict changes in seasons and weather by the nature of their joint pain.  Many of those individuals who have had joint replacement surgery or have a form of arthritis state that they experience substantially more joint pain on days that are cold or rainy while they have less joint pain during the warmer seasons and dry days. Most doctors and orthopedic surgeons Livingston NJ agree that their patients tend to experience worse joint symptoms which are seasonal or change with the weather.

Early Research

It has been supposed for years that seasonal changes affect the joints. In 1961 J. Hollander, MD built his own climate chamber and conducted a study with only 12 participants. With his climate chamber he was able to demonstrate that when the humidity was high and the barometric pressure was low, the patients experienced increased pain and stiffness in their joints. Neither one of these factors appeared to influence the joints by itself. Many criticized the study because of the low number of participants but the theory of this study was supported somewhat. The basic theory was that a drop in barometric pressure such as occurs with seasonal changes, can cause the joints to become inflamed. This swelling can lead to irritation of the nerves that are situated around the joint area and this pain and swelling can cause even more stiffness of the affected joint.

Can seasonal changes cause joint pain?

When all of the evidence is stacked up it does appear that there is some evidence that some people can experience joint pain due to seasonal weather patterns. Joint pain may be due to a form of arthritis (each reacts differently), a previous joint injury or one which has undergone joint replacement surgery. Everyone with arthritis or joint replacements will not always be bothered by joint pain due to climatic changes. Some state that they have intense pain prior to a change in a weather pattern, such as a storm or front coming through; but as soon as it arrives, the pain subsides. Others state that they have joint pain following a storm or change in weather patterns. The bottom line is that even though it cannot be narrowed down and explained, seasonal changes and the weather can have some impact on joint pain. Even if it is not completely understood in the world of science, each patient should adopt lifestyle changes along with necessary adjustments to any medications so that they can deal with seasonal joint pain.

Is it harmful to have joint pain due to seasonal changes?

As a general rule, the only symptoms associated with the weather or seasons are pain and stiffness of the joints. There is absolutely no evidence that weather changes and the joint pain it causes can lead to any type of joint damage. There is also no evidence to support that weather and seasonal changes have any influence on whether or not any individual might develop arthritis later on.

What can be done about seasonal joint pain?

Some may ask if it is better to move to a climate that does not have weather extremes in order to prevent joint pain related to seasonal changes. In some cases it might be better, but there’s no guarantee that the new place will be any better than the old. However, having the knowledge that joint pain can be caused due to seasonal changes can influence how joint pain is controlled or managed. For instance, if the weather forecast calls for a big front moving through it would be a good idea to double check and be sure that medications are being taken properly. It may be that the orthopedic surgeon who performed the joint replacement or an arthritis specialist might be able to suggest over the counter medications that can be taken only during major weather changes. Always speak to a primary care physician or specialist before making any changes to medications. Even adding OTC medications can cause complications with prescriptions. Weather and climatic conditions do seem to affect joint pain and more doctors and surgeons are considering the validity of the connection.