It is almost a common expression to say that when the joints hurt it is because it is going to rain. What may appear to be a simple belief, in reality, does have certain evidence that could indicate its veracity. This is a phenomenon called meteosensitivity, which can increase joint pain. It is a curious subject that we want to talk to you about.
Why do my knees hurt when it rains?
When parameters such as humidity level , atmospheric pressure and temperature are modified, there is a set of effects that affect joint symptoms. In addition, people with these disorders may be more sensitive and their perception of them increases.
This happens with joint pathologies and also happens to people who have suffered a trauma with bone fracture in the past. In many cases, the discomfort is felt days before the weather changes.
However, it is very important to point out the following: changes in atmospheric conditions are not the cause of diseases. They are simply triggers of joint discomfort from a pre-existing problem.
This term encompasses physical and psychological changes related to the variation of atmospheric conditions. Depression, migraines, allergies and accentuation of joint symptoms are some of them. Genetic factors and alterations in the secretion of brain neurotransmitters may be involved in its onset.
There are several theories that could explain these symptoms, which do not occur in a normal, healthy joint. However, the situation is very different when there is chronic inflammation of the joint tissues, because then they are much more sensitive.
Atmospheric pressure, i.e. the pressure that air exerts on us, is a physical quantity that can cause damage to internal organs. Barotraumas, or injuries caused by changes in water or air pressure, are widely known.
Typical cases are those suffered by divers or the earache that appears when traveling by plane. The cause is the pressure difference between the inner ear and the atmosphere, which exerts force against the eardrum.
In the joints, which contain synovial fluid, the pressure may increase when the atmospheric pressure drops, resulting in pain. The viscosity of this fluid, which has the function of lubricating the bone surfaces to allow them to glide smoothly, is also increased. These two changes increase joint friction and the consequences are pain and stiffness.
What about heat or cold?
There is a third mechanism as a possible explanation for weather-related joint pain, and that is low temperatures. The cold causes the body to launch several defensive actions to conserve body heat.
One is muscle contraction, a function that raises the metabolism of this tissue. It can occur constantly or intermittently, which is known as shivering.
Humidity facilitates the transmission of temperature changes and increases the sensation of cold that we perceive. For these reasons, joint symptoms increase when temperatures drop, but not when it is hot.
Treatments for joint pain
Both heat and cold are physical resources widely used in physiotherapy to treat musculoskeletal pathologies. Trauma and contractures caused by intense exercise are some of them. They are also very useful in the case of joint diseases.
It is important that the joint is in a resting position during these therapies. It is intermediate, i.e., neither fully flexed nor fully extended. In the case of knee pain, for example, lie down in bed in a comfortable position. Place a rolled towel under the leg, so that it is partially folded, and apply heat or cold in half-hour periods.
When there is inflammation and pain in a joint, cold compresses can be applied. This therapy generates vasoconstriction and contributes to the reabsorption of edema, thus causing the volume increase and redness to subside. Pain can also be greatly relieved by this treatment, and much of the mobility can be regained.
As for heat, treatments for joint pain can be provided by infrared rays. They provide dry heat, whose penetration is greater and reaches up to 10 millimeters deep.
Hot water bottles and kerosene baths are suitable for moist, more superficial heat. Its main function is to relax structures such as tendons and muscles. By achieving this effect they also reduce pain and stiffness.
There are many natural means that can help to attenuate joint pain and associated symptoms. At Phytogen Medical Foods we are committed to your well-being, because life is to be enjoyed. Visit our website and you will be surprised.