15 Oct How weather affects our osteoarthritis and how to alleviate its symptoms
From the very beginning, our ancestors were able to foresee the changes of time due to the aggravation of the pain in their joints. Who has not heard the phrase “it’ll rain tomorrow because my knees are hurting”?
And they were not very misguided because there are many scientific studies in the medical literature that show that in a high number of patients (more than 40%) there is an inverse relationship between joint pain and atmospheric pressure, when the pressure drops increases joint pain. It should not be forgotten that joints have “baroreceptors” in the joint capsule that detect these pressure changes.
On the other hand, this drop in atmospheric pressure and the degree of maximum humidity trigger a decrease in postural stability that also influences the sensation of joint pain.
Less sunny countries with higher rainfall have a comparatively higher number of people suffering from rheumatic diseases, e.g. Belgium.
Therefore, in the wetter and darker months, autumn and winter, there is clearly a higher incidence of joint pain.
In addition to joint pains caused by pressure changes, our muscles also suffer from cold, causing a higher incidence of muscle contractures and joint stiffness that produce musculoskeletal pain in patients.
For the days when the pains are more intense we recommend:
- Application of heat to arthritic joints
- Moderate exercise such as walking on flat ground, swimming or cycling is beneficial for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. It is advisable to strengthen the muscles and preserve mobility.
- If the pain is very intense, it is advisable to rest.
- It is recommended to avoid being overweight, especially for the load joints (hip, knees, ankles).
- Maintain a varied and balanced diet (Mediterranean diet).
- Apply in areas with pain heat and only cold if there is inflammation, cold maximum 10 minutes several times a day
- In the mornings, when stiffness and pain are more intense, it is advisable to take a hot shower and massage the painful area.
- Wear comfortable shoes without much heel and laces so you don’t have to bend over and with a light wedge.
- Sleep on a hard, flat bed and sit in straight backrest chairs.
- Do not stand still in the same position for long periods of time. Avoid harmful postures such as kneeling and squatting.
- Do not force the joints, avoid sudden movements.
- Avoid carrying weight.
- Give yourself a luxury and go to a spa that offers treatments against osteoarthritis that helps reduce pain and inflammation.
- Do not self-medicate and follow the recommendations of your specialist.
- See a physical therapist when you have more pain to relieve muscle contractures.
At Clínica DKF, in addition to these
recommendations, we offer people suffering from osteoarthritis personalized treatments that produce a very significant improvement in symptoms depending on how advanced the disease is. Among the best treatments we recommend hyaluronic acid, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), Orthokine, genetic tests of knee osteoarthritis or the application of stem cells.
And it is always advisable to maintain a positive attitude of mind in the face of any illness. You know the phrase that has always been said “Bad weather, good face”.
Author: Dr. Karin Freitag. Specialist and Master in Rheumatology.