Why Do I Hurt More When It Rains?

By Athlete's Care on July 06, 2021

Many of the clients at our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics live with arthritis. It may occur as a result of damage to joints due to injury, over use, or over time.

In a climate like that of the GTA, with its ups and downs in temperature and humidity, many people, and arthritis sufferers in particular, say that their aches and pains get worse when it rains. Even without arthritis per se, some people report a flare up of pain or discomfort at the site of old injuries.

But, do they really?

As it turns out, the research and experts don’t entirely agree on how it works. Some, in fact, don’t believe that the connection has been proven at all. Still, all those people can’t be entirely wrong. It’s also possible that some people’s bodies are more attuned to those changes in the weather than others.

Arthritis isn’t one single disease – it’s a term that describes joint disorders. Experts, and the research, tend to believe that one of two reactions comes into play. As the barometric pressure drops when it begins to rain, either:

  • the fluid around the joints thickens, or
  • the soft tissues swell slightly.

In either case, it results in increased pain and stiffness in the joints.

  • Humidity affects the joints, and can cause pain. However, temperature also plays a role.
  • That means summer weather, even though it can be humid, generally offers relief from the worst aches and pains.
  • When cartilage is worn down, as it can be in arthritis, it exposes the nerves, which also respond to changes in barometric pressure.
  • Scar tissues may also expand and contract.

Bad weather can also influence how much exercise you get, and walking, cycling, and other joint friendly exercises relieve pain due to arthritis.

Making it better

There are various steps that you can take to help alleviate weather-related arthritis pain.

  • Stay warm – even if you are indoors, the temperature will affect pain levels. A warm or hot shower or bath can help, an extra layer of clothing, or an electric blanket at night will all help.
  • Low impact exercises are crucial to maintaining joint health, and will help manage pain. Ask your Toronto physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist for suggestions.
  • When you exercise or do any strenuous activities, start slow, and add extra stretches first.
  • Remember to stay hydrated.
  • Compression socks or gloves can ease joint swelling.
  • Avoid air conditioning and moisture.
  • You can also ask an orthopaedic specialist about taking anti-inflammatory medications.

If you are living with arthritis, our Toronto physiotherapists, massage therapists, and other sports medicine specialists are ready with answers to your questions. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics today.