Do you suffer from arthritis? If so, you’ve got plenty of company. According to the CDC, more than 52 million Americans have the dubious honor of dealing with some form of arthritis, including nearly half a million people under the age of 18. It’s a club with an expansive membership.
If you have (or know someone who has) arthritis, you’ve probably heard that changes in the weather cause the pain to intensify. There’s tons of anecdotal evidence to support this, but is it true?
Unfortunately, there have only been a limited number of studies on the issue. The findings of the research to date has been inconclusive, with some studies confirming what most arthritis sufferers believe, and others finding no correlation.
Even so, both the Arthritis Foundation and the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons link weather changes to an increase in arthritis pain. The Arthritis Foundation cited barometric pressure changes as the cause, and the AOS linked it to rain and/or the onset of colder weather.
Although these agencies acknowledge a correlation, there’s no evidence to support that moving to warmer, drier climates will provide you with any significant long-term relief from your arthritis pain.
Unfortunately, people living in sunny Florida and the dry southwestern states still suffer from the disease. There’s no cure, and it’s going to run its course, no matter where you live.
In other words, don’t pack your bags. While you may experience a temporary increase in discomfort when the weather changes, moving isn’t really going to help. Since there’s no cure, the best you can do is continue to treat the symptoms with heating pads, cold packs (and ideally a combination of both), with medications to help you control the inflammation.
Also consider engaging in regular stretching exercises to increase your range of motion and exercise in a swimming pool as often as you’re able to.