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Does Weather Affect Joint Pain?

Posted November 02, 2020 by Zach Vallandingham, DO, MS

man holding his wrist in pain

Have you ever heard from someone that they can predict when a storm is coming because their joints hurt? It’s pretty common for people to blame joint pain flare-ups on changes on the weather, but scientists and doctors have yet to pinpoint exactly what it is about cold, rainy, or humid weather that makes joints stiff and achy.

Leading Theories

While joint pain isn’t directly correlated with dropping temperatures, the thought is that the change in barometric pressure is the issue. One theory is that changes in barometric pressure causes tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissue to expand and cause pain. The other theory is that when the cartilage that cushions the bones inside a joint is worn away, nerves in the exposed bones might pick up on changes in pressure.

How to Ease Weather Related Joint Pain

Though the cause isn’t clear, the weather-related joint pain that some people feel is very real. Here are some ways to reduce the risk for joint pain as the weather takes a turn towards cold, rainy fall weather.

  • As the weather gets colder, make sure to dress warmly and keep your body temperature consistent. Dress in layers when you go out and make sure to cover areas that are prone to flare-ups. When you’re not out-and-about, keep warm in the house with an electric blanket or a warm shower or bath.


  • Keep a healthy weight and stay active. Building up muscle and bone strength through exercise will help protect joints. Yoga and swimming are great joint-friendly exercises to be done when the weather gets colder. If you do choose to exercise outside, make sure to stretch after you have finished.


  • Make sure to take care of your health by eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, and keeping an optimistic outlook.


  • If you do start feeling joint pain, apply heating pads to help relax your muscles, and ask your doctor for pain medication or anti-inflammatories to help ease your symptoms.

At Summa Health, our Orthopedic Institute is here to help you get the treatment options you need to recover and get your joints moving the way you need them to. Our orthopedic specialists treat all conditions for bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Contact us today by phone at 330.375.3000 or online to schedule an appointment.

Zachary D Vallandingham, DO

Zachary D Vallandingham, DO

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