A: Yep! You’ve surely heard someone say “My arthritis is acting up. It’s going to rain (or snow).” They were probably right, because we’ve got barometers in our bodies. Within your joints are fluid-filled sacks called ‘bursae’ which help with lubrication of your joints. These bursae are a lot like balloons and, like balloons, if you reduce the air pressure outside of the balloon it will expand. So when a low pressure weather system moves in, the walls of the bursa will expand beyond a point that your body thinks is “normal,” and you feel pain.
Cold weather is another culprit in increased pain for arthritis sufferers. The research to determine why cold is accompanied by increased pain isn’t as clear cut as it is on the topic of barometric pressure and pain. Thoughts on why cold increases pain range from cold weather reducing the amount of physical activity people perform (which increases pain sensitivity), to thicker joint fluid consistency, to restriction of blood flow to the arthritic area. Here are a few tips to reduce arthritic pain.
• Eat anti-inflammatory foods like fish, spinach, oranges and whole grains while reducing refined sugars and processed foods.
• Stay active. Simply moving joints stimulates secretion of lubricating joint fluid and blood flow to these arthritic areas (chiropractic adjustments help with arthritic joints in the neck and back that are difficult to move on your own).
• Stay warm, and use heat. If you’ve had joint pain longer than a few weeks, it’s important to use heat to increase blood flow to the arthritic areas.
Information provided by Dr. Greg Pray, DC, owner, Mid Iowa Chiropractic, 8088 Douglas Ave., Urbandale, 515-344-1143.