Is the Farmer’s Almanac to Blame for Your Joint Pain?

By Sara Butler

 Walter Cronkite reading Old Farmers Almanac

October 13 just happens to fall on a Friday this year, and Friday the 13th is more than just a superstitious day on the calendar. October 13 also happens to be the day that the first Old Farmer’s Almanac was published in 1792. It’s still going strong and is a somewhat mysterious publication. They don’t reveal just how they predict the weather – it’s shrouded in mystery. What’s not shrouded in mystery is how the weather impacts your joints.

Your crazy Aunt Shirleen, who claims she can predict the weather with her elbow, may not be as crazy as you think. Weather can have an impact on your joints. And since we’re all about keeping your joints healthy here at The Joint Chiropractic, let’s explore what our Aunt Shirleen’s elbow is really saying.

Can Weather Cause Joint Pain?

It’s not an uncommon complaint from those who suffer from joint pain to feel more pain when the weather changes. There’s no consensus among scientists for the specific mechanism that may cause these changes, but there are a few theories as to why this occurs.

The prevailing theory involves air pressure. Many people think that damp, wet, and cold weather are to blame for their increased joint pain, but it’s the barometric pressure that impacts people the most.

Here’s a little meteorological lesson for you: Barometric pressure is the weight of the air that surrounds all of us. Now imagine the tissue surrounding joints to be like a balloon. High pressure will push against the body and keep tissues surrounding joints from expanding.

When inclement weather is nearing, barometric pressure drops. The low air pressure reduces the pressure on the body, allowing the tissue surrounding the joints to expand. The expanded tissue then puts pressure on the joint and boom! You’ve got Aunt Shirleen telling you a storm’s a-brewin'.

Throw in the fact that people who suffer from chronic pain are often more sensitized due to inflammation, injury, adhesions, or scarring, and you have people who can claim to predict the weather with their joints.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. But it does make sense that we’re affected by our environment. Just how is not fully understood.

So, Should You Move?

If you find your joints are impacted by the weather, should you move? You might want to slow your roll a little bit! Arizona or Florida may sound like a great destination for those who suffer from joint pain, but less dramatic weather doesn’t guarantee you’ll be free from pain, especially if you suffer from chronic pain; chances are it will follow you wherever you go.

What Should You Do?

You can find relief if you notice pain during weather changes. The best way to deal with this is to:

  • Keep warm – When it’s cold outside, dress in layers, keep your home heated comfortably, and warm up the car before you get inside. These measures can help to ease some of the pain related to weather changes and the cold.
  • Prevent swelling – Warmth will help with joint pain, but not inflammation or swelling. So, try to wear supportive clothing that can help to keep your joints from swelling. If you have arthritis in the hands, for example, try using spandex gloves to keep fluid from the joints.
  • Get moving – Exercise is always a great way to loosen painful joints and relieve stiffness. So, make sure you get your minimum 20 minutes of moderate exercise in each day to help find relief.
  • Work with your chiropractor – One of the best ways to help reduce joint pain is to work with your chiropractor to reduce joint dysfunction and restriction. By keeping your joints working at their very best, the weather may not be such a factor!

Don’t blame the Farmer’s Almanac for your Aunt Shirleen’s joint pain. This October 13, rest comfortably in the knowledge that while the weather may impact your joints, you’re not at its mercy. You can fight back -- but if a tornado touches down, head to the storm cellar just the same.

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