Winter is settling over the Aloha/Beaverton area with thirty degree weather, wind chills, and of course, rain. At this time of year, one of the most common questions we get from our clients with chronic pain --- weather that be arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, or joint problems-- is why they experience flare-ups in pain when the temperatures drop.
Scientists aren't in agreement about why cold weather seems to make symptoms worse for many patients. The leading theory explains that a spike in cold weather pain can be explained by barometric pressure, i.e. the weight of air around your body. Typically higher barometric pressures prevent the tissues in your body from expanding. During the winter months, the barometric pressures drops causing tiny expansions of tissues within the joint. Inflamed tissues place more pressure on the joint. Additionally many people with chronic pain suffer from central nervous sensitization that causes their nerves to become hypersensitive; highly sensitized nerves detect these small changes in tissue expansion and fire off pain signals.
So how can you beat the cold weather pain without packing your bags and moving from Aloha/Beaverton to somewhere sunny?