May is the time for recognizing and spreading awareness about a widespread disease that impacts millions. I'm talking about arthritis, and you might wonder if there is a weather and pain connection.

What You Need To Know

  • Temperature, barometric pressure and moisture have been studied for their impacts on arthritis disease activity

  • Doctors and meteorologists do not have solid answers about a connection between weather and arthritis pain, but there are clues

  • May is National Arthritis Month and it's the 75th anniversary of the Arthritis Foundation

Understanding the challenges of the disease and how some claim the weather leads to increased pain has been a gray area for years.

While there is no solid explanation for how weather impacts arthritis symptoms, there are some hints that are being brought to light. 

Cold and stormy weather

Some say the colder it is, the worse the pain, while others blame their aches on dropping barometric pressure. According to Penn Medicine, cold and stormy weather "can cause fluid in the joints to thicken, which makes them stiffer." Others think the pressure drops could also cause musculoskeletal tissues to expand or contract, leading to discomfort. 

A ten-degree drop in temperature has some arthritis sufferers complaining of more discomfort than normal. Does it make you wonder if the extra pain was due to the cold or was it due to staying indoors and moving less when the frigid weather strikes? 

There are some people who claim the warm weather is easier to maneuver around with less stiffness. 

Warm and muggy days seem to go well with lower pain thresholds of those with certain types of arthritis.

Just when you think the arthritis and weather connection makes sense, there's a catch. That's right: Different kinds of arthritis may have different responses to weather elements.

People with osteoarthritis generally prefer warm and dry weather. On the flip side, people with rheumatoid arthritis tend to prefer the cooler weather, according to Professor Karen Walker-Bone, professor of occupational rheumatology at the University of Southampton. Some folks, it seems, tend to swell up in their hands, feet and ankles in hot and humid weather and this could aggravate certain arthritic conditions. 

(Spectrum News/Heather Morrison)

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