Does The Weather Really Increase Joint Pain?

Clouds approaching Sand Key Lighthouse - Key West, Florida
Photo: Dale McDonald, State Archives of Florida

Almost all my older patients report they feel more pain when the weather is cold and/or rainy. But is it really true? Here is an example of someone who told me: “I woke up with a lot of leg and back pain, and I think it is just because of the weather.” So my goal was to show that her pain could be improved, regardless of the present weather conditions.

On a scale of 0-10, pain was 7/10 at the start of our session. Her first exercise was the same one she had been doing for homework: lie face down on the mat and press up onto her hands. Doing this for a few sets decreased her pain from 7/10 to 5/10 and made her leg feel better. With a few more exercises in the same direction of movement (backwards or back extension), her pain further decreased to 1/10 and was located in the center of her low back and not her leg. Objectively, her baseline movements improved and became less stiff and less painful.

So, how much of her pain was weather-related? Some of it may have been caused or aggravated by the climate change, but most of it was movement-related. So within one hour of treatment with the proper movements, her pain decreased from 7/10 to 1/10, and the weather was still cold and wet when she left.

Published by lizbnavarr@gmail.com

I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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