Sunday, January 3, 2010

No Correlation Between Arthritis Pain And Weather

Our average temperature in Fort Smith for January 3rd is 50 degrees.  Our forecast today is for a high of 32 with snow.  This is a weather pattern that started in late November and continued to dominate December.  Cold temperatures constrict blood flow, which may contribute to the fatigue of muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments.  Just what we need, more contributing factors for fatigue.

While doing a little research in writing this post I ran across this from accessmylibrary.com.  I thought you might find this excerpt amusing.   "Several studies over the past 20 years have found no correlation between arthritis pain and weather conditions."  Oh really?  They obviously forgot to include anyone that has RA or OA.  This would be funny if it weren't for the fact that outsiders (non arthritic people) who read this will believe it.

At least the Weather Channel understands ... sort of.  "Weather factors that may impact arthritis pain include dramatic changes in barometric pressure and humidity. Cold weather can increase stiffness in muscles and joints." 

Here is my, purely unscientific, data on RA and cold/rainy weather.  My hands, right hip and knees are usually the first to be affected by the cold, rain or severe weather.  It is harder for me to hang onto things (I am more prone to drop things when its cold or rainy), I get around much slower and am not as flexible.  The floor feels like it is 10 feet away when I drop something and have to pick it up.  It is absolute agony putting socks and shoes on.

Looking back, I can remember aunts, uncles and grandparents that talked about how their bones ached and how they could tell the weather was changing. I believed them, but I never really understood it back then. It's bad for you and I today, but think about 30 or 40 years ago, they didn't have much to take for the pain but aspirin.

11 comments:

Cathy said...

My rheumatologist told me about the research that says there is no correlation - hmmm...my joints said otherwise.

Working with a chiropractor and acupuncturist, they both acknowledged weather as a contributor to joint pain. It was nice to know I wasn't nuts. My husband was the first to notice it with me. It is real.

rheumablog said...

It fascinates me how different we all are, even though we share the same disease. I thoroughly emphasize with your frustration, Terry -- I've known from probably the first year I had RA that the weather affected how it affected me. But while cold, as a temperature is painful to me, winter by itself isn't, even though it's cold all winter long. I can't handle putting an ice pack on any flared joint -- it's excruciating to me -- and it doesn't matter what time of year it is. Warmth is always soothing. It's the barometric changes that make my joints go stiff and achy. I always know there's a change coming, sometimes before the weatherheads announce it on the news.

Like you, I find it unbelievable that "science" finds no correlation between arthritis pain and the weather. Honestly, do we live on the same planet? I've yet to talk to anyone who suffers from RA who the weather doesn't affect.

All that said, I'm sorry you're feeling so rough and that the weather is so unseasonably (unreasonably?)cold in your part of the country. Here, we're in the low 50s -- and considering how high up in the mountains we are, it should be in the 30s. Trade ya.
-Wren

RA Guy said...

My rheumatoid arthritis is closely related to changes in the weather. Cold: bad. Wet: bad. Cold + wet: really bad!

My former rheumatologist would dryly repeat the claim that there was no correlation whenever I bought up the topic.

My current rheumatologist actually brings it up himself during my monthly visits. He tells me that all of his patients do worse when the weather is cold and humid.

tharr said...

Cathy, it is very real. You're not nuts. lol It's good to know that some healthcare providers do acknowledge it.

tharr said...

Wren, thanks, I would trade you weather in a second if I could. What is frustrating is that they publish articles like that, a hoh RAer reads it and is suddenly an expert on it, then thinks you or I are faking the pain that we experience. I seriously question the research, how much and how in depth, being done for them to publish statements such as this.

tharr said...

RA Guy, my first rheumatologist told me the same thing. However my current rheumatologist agrees 100% that the weather does affect arthritis. It's nice to have a rheumatologist you feel like you can trust.

Living It, Loving It said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Living It, Loving It said...

I usually curse under my breath when I read similar studies. My joints and other RA symtoms say otherwise. It would be nice if those researchers had RA themselves. Most likely, they don't.

tharr said...

Lana, I'm pretty sure you're right. Not only that, makes me wonder if they even interview anyone with RA while doing their research.

Kelly said...

Hi Terry,
Cold hurts even if it's just cold water to wash my hands. Cold hurts. But I have a friend who uses ice packs on her hands. She says heat hurts. Warmth is such relief to me. Puzzling, huh?

I have to laugh though because my RA is Florida is plenty bad & folks still write about moving here so they won't have pain...

tharr said...

Kelly, I am like you, cold hurts while warm helps, in fact I jumped in the hot tub this morning. It was 15 outside but the water was 105. Really makes me feel better, even if it is only temporary relief.

OK, you caught me. Just last night I was telling my wife that I was going to have to move to Florida or Arizona if the cold keeps blasting through here like it has been. I checked and your area of Florida is in the mid 40's, we have had 1 day that it hit 35 out of the last 5 days. It is supposed to get to 38 tomorrow ... with snow for the next day and a half.