Most everyone knows somebody who can predict when it will rain. How do they accomplish this feat? They listen to their aching joints. It is well known though not understood why, that barometric pressure changes cause an increase in pain and stiffness in the joints of certain people. These folks are unlucky enough to have severely injured (as in broke) the joint, or they have arthritis or both. Severe injuries cause early onset osteoarthritis, so you get a double whammy when you break a bone, and more so if you break a joint. As much as the idea appeals, you can’t lay all your joint aches and pains at the weather’s door; your arthritis is more to blame.
Arthritis in all its Glory:
Arthritis is defined as a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, occurs mainly in people as they hit middle age. However, injuries to the joints will cause early onset of the disease, and not just breaks, either; severe strains or sprains, and repetitive stress will also injure the joint, and have the potential to bring on early onset arthritis. Osteoarthritis is visible on x-rays, as it leaves scar tissue behind from the inflamed tissues.
Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Both of these forms of arthritis are auto-immune diseases; an autoimmune disease is one where the body’s immune system is hyper-vigilant, and it mistakes healthy body tissues for foreign invaders and begins attacking them as they would do to repel an infection. Allergies are the mildest form of auto-immune disorders, and they progress up to debilitating and fatal diseases. There are no known cures for any auto-immune disease as of yet; even allergies can only be controlled with antihistamines for the most part. Serum injections may reduce the sensitivity of an allergy sufferer, but unless the allergy is mild to begin with, it doesn’t cure it.
There are no known cures for any form of arthritis at this point; the best an arthritis patient can do is to modify his lifestyle to minimize the pain, discomfort and disability brought on by the disease. There are allopathic medications for rheumatoid arthritis which can prevent the disease from progressing and destroying joint tissue, and there are allopathic treatments available for osteoarthritis, but the patient is better off with an alternative treatment, as the allopathic ones have nasty side effects – even the over-the-counter ones. There are alternative treatments for RA, but the effectiveness is not clear. There are not many treatments for rheumatoid arthritis in either medical world, so the patient should use the treatment that will keep his joints from being disabled or destroyed until a better one is found.
How Weather Plays With The Arthritis:
This is not very well understood; the most likely scenario is the barometric pressure changes cause changes in the nitrogen level in your blood. This results in a condition similar to the Diver’s Bends; when a scuba diver surfaces from low depths at too fast a rate and doesn’t stop for decompression along the way, nitrogen builds up in the bloodstream. The excess nitrogen in the joints and muscles causes painful cramps and stiffness in the affected areas. A diver can undergo decompression therapy when he gets to the surface, and this balances the nitrogen levels back to normal. The current thinking is the barometric pressure works in a similar fashion on the bloodstream of osteoarthritis patients, and those folks who’ve injured a joint; the buildup of pressure creates excess nitrogen in your bloodstream, and when the barometric pressure equalizes as the front passes, the levels return to normal. Whatever the explanation, it is an accepted fact that certain arthritis patients and certain folks who’ve broken a joint can tell, sometimes days before when rain is on the way.
Coping with the Weather:
Well, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this phenomenon if you’re one of the unlucky souls who suffer from it. You can step up your normal arthritis treatments when you feel the pain and stiffness begin, but there’s no pill or surgery or herb that will prevent the barometric pressure from making you hurt for a while. You can apply heat packs to stiff joints and aching muscles if you don’t normally use them; this may give you some relief. The best advice is to do what you can with your normal regimen, and grin and bear it till the weather changes. It always does, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No, it’s not a train – its relief.
Shawn Clark has done bachelor’s degree in health administration from the University of Houston. By profession, he is a Health and Fitness Advisor. For the past five years, he provided nutrition counseling, fitness training and health advice all over Phoenix, Arizona. He specializes in Men’s Sexual Health, colon health, dietary supplements, weight loss, etc. His articles are well-researched and published on several websites. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for daily inspiration.
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