Do the Seasonal Changes Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Almost everyone suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis notices their symptoms getting worse during cold weather. While there are ways to get around this problem, most arthritis suffers are curious as to why exactly does arthritis seem to flare when the temperature drops.
There are theories as to why this may be, but there is no scientific evidence behind this. The number one reason why medical experts don’t know how the weather influences arthritis symptoms is mostly because there is not enough scientific evidence to prove this case. One study published in a 1999 issue of the Journal Pain states that although RA patients report weather sensitivity, the relationship is not clinically significant. Conversely, a study by the Rheumatologica Clinic showed a 16% increase in flares due to cold weather.
Cold and Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
While there is no scientific evidence to prove that seasonal changes affect Rheumatoid Arthritis, cold temperatures seem to irritate the nerves surrounding joint tissue in the same way that other changes in weather conditions do. Cold weather shrinks tissue in the joint. As a result, the tissue pulses on the nerves causing pain.
However, it is most likely that combination of cold temperatures, humid environments and drops in barometric pressure that make for the worst recipe in arthritis symptoms.
Other Factors That May Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares
Your behavior during the colder months could also be to blame for Rheumatoid Arthritis flares. These conditions tend to become worse with a sedentary lifestyle.
Many of us tend to hibernate during the cold winter months. Not going out much, lack of exercise and wearing bulky clothes that limit freedom of movement are all factors that can make your joints feel worse during the winter.
How to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares When the Season Changes
The following are a few ways you can manage Rheumatoid Arthritis flares when the season changes:
Try to keep yourself nice and toasty, particularly when it is cold and damp outside. Wear extra layers and place a blanket in every room of your home.
In addition, you can power up a space heater. If your home is drafty or cool, consider sealing up drafts.
While you may want to stay home when it is rainy or cold outside, it is ideal to stay active. Exercise wards off stiffness and keeps you from gaining weight, which puts added stress on your joints.
Additionally, moving around gives you a rush of feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which can help block pain. Consider activity that does not put pressure on your joints, such as the following:
- tai chi
Stretch It Out
Regular stretching can assist with warding off your pain and stiffness.
Try to do a series of stretches and gentle exercises every day. You can do them in the morning or before you go to bed.
These are just the basics of “Do the Seasonal Changes Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis?” and what you can do to ease the seasonal flares. Contact us today with the link below to schedule an appointment with our doctors!