Some people regard the effects of cold weather on rheumatoid arthritis as an old wives' tale. If you or someone you love experiences RA flares during cold weather, you know that there's some truth to the old story, even if medical science has yet to discover the exact connection. Whether you're a senior who suffers more RA pain during the colder winter months or a caregiver providing for someone, you should know that there are simple steps you can take to help ease the pain.
When Is Seasonal Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Most Likely To Occur?
Many people with RA who report changes in symptoms related to weather and the change of seasons say that winter and spring are the worst times for their symptoms, while autumn is the best. Others report the worst symptoms during the most dramatic seasonal changes from fall to winter and from winter to spring. However, every case of RA is a little bit different and some people experience increased symptoms during warmer weather.
Why Does Cold Weather Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Scientists still aren't exactly sure what the connection is between weather and RA pain. Because studies have not yet yielded any conclusive results, some researchers believe there is no connection to be found. However, others have observed such predictable patterns of weather having a negative effect on patients' RA that they believe that there must be a correlation. One possible explanation is that changes in air pressure can put undue stress on sore joints.
How Can You Ease Weather-Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain?
Needless to say, you can't do anything about the weather, but if you recognize atmospheric conditions as a trigger to RA pain, there are things you can do to relieve it.
- Exercise More
Exercise can help RA symptoms in two different ways. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, putting less stress on your joints, and it helps to prevent stiffness. Rather than subject yourself to the cold weather outside, find indoor exercises to do:
- Light weights
- Stationary bike
- Resistance bands
- Balance ball
Stretching exercises, like yoga or tai chi, can also be helpful.
- Warm Up
If the cold triggers your symptoms, warm up by taking a hot bath, wearing extra layers, or using a space heater.
- Try Alternative Treatments
Some people find that acupuncture or massage helps to ease RA pain. Find a treatment that works for you and use it when you need it.
If you would like to learn more about how Home Helpers can assist in you or a loved one’s home, please contact us to schedule your free in-home consultation.