The storms in my joints

The Storms in my Joints

With winter still pummeling large parts of the U.S., it seems like a good time to talk about how the weather may affect rheumatoid arthritis. Because I’m here to tell you, I don’t care what those skeptical scientist/doctor-types say. For an awful lot of us with RA, the weather does have a rather big effect on how we feel.

For me, it’s not so much that it’s hot or cold, or wet or dry. Instead, my joints start yelling when the barometer moves. Yeah, that’s right. All it has to do is rise or fall. And if it gets stuck on rise, I’m in trouble.

In my experience, areas of low pressure mean rain. Areas of high pressure mean sunshine. In California, we have huge, heavy, sluggish ovals of high pressure sitting, on most of the state, most of the time. (It’s why when you watch the weather news, the weather map is blank except for a big H over California, while the rest of the country has big Ls and wind, cloud, and lightning symbols scattered everywhere.) Those high pressure areas block most of the storms coming in off the Pacific Ocean, forcing them to slide north or south and acting like a big ol’ umbrella that keeps us (sigh) nice and dry. And while the high pressure remains, blocking any actual weather, my joints gripe and groan and sometimes, scream.

I have a theory about why high barometric pressure makes my joints feel like they’re being pried apart by crowbars. It has to do with the effect of pressure on liquids. I figured this out one day as I was putting eye drops in my eyes. The drops, when I squeezed them out of the bottle, were big and heavy. One drop flooded my eye, and some of it ran like a tear down my cheek. But just the day before, the drops were compact and tiny, and I’d needed two to lubricate my eye.

It gave me pause. I’ve noticed something similar when I make my coffee with a cone filter and boiling water. One day, I have to fill the filter twice to fill up my 16 oz. go-cup. Another day, I only need to fill the same filter one and a half times to fill the same cup to the same level.


My little brain whirred and chugged. I started checking the local barometric pressure on the Internet each morning before using my eye drops and brewing my coffee. Sure enough, when the barometer was rising, or high, the drops were large and sloppy. I needed less water to brew my go-cup coffee. When it was falling, or low, it was the other way around.

So here’s my theory. Maybe the synovial fluid in my joints expands, just like my eye drops, when the barometer is rising or high. The pressure of the expanding fluid on my inflamed, angry joint tissues causes more pain — in effect, it causes a storm in my joints. And when the pressure is falling or low, so are my pain levels.

Now, I’m not bothered by rainy, wet weather at all, and cold, to me, is just cold. It doesn’t make my joints hurt unless the wind is blowing directly on them. The frigid air conditioning in my car, for instance, hurts my wrists and hands when I drive until I turn the vents away. (Which is aggravating in the scorching Caifornia heat, believe me.) In hot weather (when the barometric pressure is generally high) I hurt more, and all over. But placing heat in the form of heat packs on my hands or other affected joints soothes them anyway, no matter the air temperature. I also hurt more when the weather is hot and humid, but not when it’s cold and humid.

Obviously, this isn’t even close to being scientific. It’s just my observation of how my own body reacts to the weather. Other people feel the opposite effect. When it rains (generally with low barometric pressure) their joints hurt. They feel better when the sun comes out and it gets warm. I wonder, do they still feel better when it’s sunny and cold?

Whatever it is about the weather that causes joints affected by RA to twinge and ache, it seems perfectly obvious that it does, and I’m not alone in feeling it. I’m frustrated by doctors who say there’s no proof when they have patients that are obviously affected. We’re certainly not making it up or imagining it.

How about you? Does my theory make any sense? How does the weather affect your RA joints? Or am I just stirring up a tempest in a teacup?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (81)
  • MaryB
    2 months ago

    I was looking to warmer weather to help my joints until I learned that the warmer the weather the more pain would be present. The cooler the weather the barometer is lower, so except for being chilly the cold might be better. The pressure isn’t as nasty and just maybe I can survive. Great article.

  • PeggyN
    3 months ago

    Woke up this morning, and couldn’t move my fingers. Took several hours to get them moving. By afternoon, the wind was blowing like crazy and then came the rain. Should have know that the weather was going to get bad. But wasn’t really thinking about it cause the sun was shining all morning. Weather & baremiric pressure definitely has an affect on RA.

  • teande
    3 months ago

    Thank you Wren for your article ‘storm in your joints’. I moved to Henderson, NV a few months ago and have suffered much with joint stiffness and much pain since after the move.
    I could only put it down to the dry/low humidity and extreme heat that we have here. Now I know where my joint pains like I’ve never had before is coming from. You confirmed it.
    I have a few more weeks before the weather turns to mild then to cold and dry. I can only look forward to the change in weather soon.
    Thank you again.

  • gsehealth
    4 months ago

    It affects my mom’s knees in raining season. It is swollen and pain has increased. But if we take care more, It will not be affected by weather.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, @gsehealth! Just curious, what do you mean by “take more care” how do you and your mom cope with environmental factors?
    ~Monica

  • gsehealth
    2 months ago

    Hot therapy and avoid some foods which is not good for her.

  • amarom
    4 months ago

    Hi, thanks for sharing your story.
    I have had r.a. for 17 years now.
    As far as weather and my joints,.when it is rainy or cold, I hurt, when I traveled to Mexico, my ankle swelled to size of a golf club. I did notice that when I lay in the sun, my joints feel better.
    I have family in California and always think how another climate may help my r.a.
    Have you ever been to Arizona ?

  • jane
    4 months ago

    Definitely when a storm is building up, but after all these years it still takes me by surprise. I start to feel more weary and everything seems awkward. Last night we had gale force winds.I am on the coast and i stayed awake, unable to sleep as i couldn’t get comfortable.Also a tad worried about falling trees or branches that didn’t happen. So i felt my body and brain was on full alert. Sometimes my metacarpal joints visibly swell and then go down after the barometer has stopped dipping and diving. The comment about joints being prised apart certainly agree and well put.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    4 months ago

    Hey Jane! I am sorry that storms flare you up but I really relate to your comment! Storms also exacerbate my symptoms and like you said I just feel awkward. I may not necessarily have pain but I feel like a baby deer trying to walk.

    Thanks so much for sharing!! ~Monica

  • MaryB
    4 months ago

    When I was first diagnosed three years ago I thought that the summer would be best, sunshine and all. BUT have found that the winter will be better. After all, we put Ice on joints to ease swelling and pain, so I agree with your theory about the barometer and weather. Thank you for a very informative and interesting and fun knowledgeable article.

  • Barbara45
    5 months ago

    Wren, Your theory makes sense to me. I also notice changes in what I call my hurt level as the barometric pressure rises. At those times, even during a heat wave like we are experiencing now, I just want to crawl under the covers and get warm. The air conditioning vents in the car also bother my hands and arms.

    I love all of your articles, and have learned so much from you! Thank you!

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    4 months ago

    Hey Barbara! Thanks for sharing!! I am the same way in that warmth works best with my joints over cold. I’m glad you find these articles relatable and enjoyable! All the best, Monica

  • zorra51954
    5 months ago

    My ankles and my wrists and hands are under attack. My hands feel like they are going to break the pain is so bad. And I am so fatigued. I’m having a hard time functioning.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    5 months ago

    I am so sorry, zorrya51954!! Have you spoken to your doctor about your worsening symptoms? S/he may be able to help you find some relief. I thought you might find this article helpful about alternative treatments to medications: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/alternatives-therapies/

    I also find that icing/heating helps. Please reach out if you need to! ~Monica

  • johnscott
    5 months ago

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893195/
    There are many articles about this with some research being conducted. Nice piece. Js

  • pattycakes
    6 months ago

    I agree!

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    7 months ago

    I always feel better when it is sunny and dry. Humidity makes my joints hurt, and rain is devastating. I seem to have more swelling when the barometer is low. Guess we are opposites.
    MSH

  • Sycoraxepp
    7 months ago

    I am with you there, especially when our joints have extra synovial fluid, they then turn in to our own private barometers and act and respond just like the barometer you may have on the wall.
    I took an interest in this many years ago and bought a barometer and kept a diary logging joint pain and barometer readings. I found that when there is a drastic change in the barometer readings, either up or down, it definitely had an effect on my body. So when a storm is coming, or even passing nearby, I do know without watching the weather. I am sure many would agree. I think other kinds of arthritis probably respond the same way but perhaps on a smaller scale.
    There is not much to a barometer but if you look up how to make your own you will clearly see how our joints are possibly the perfect storm as Wren so eloquently states.

  • kkharrod
    8 months ago

    My joint pain and fatigue generally mirror my barometer on my iPhone. I can upload pictures and say, here where the barometer spiked up OR down, that’s when the pain put me in bed. My legs feel like led and breathing even feels difficult at times, especially if I try to do something physical like take out the garbage or vacuum. I usually feel it just before the barometer shows it. Of course, if I try to do something physical and ignore the symptoms, I’ll pay for it. I live the the panhandle of Florida about an hour from Mobile, Alabama. The rain just misses us many times, the pressure is there on a daily bases to varying degrees.

  • kbart
    8 months ago

    That is the perfect way to describe it,
    “like my joints are being pried apart with a crowbar”

  • kkharrod
    8 months ago

    Agreed!

  • pugpen
    8 months ago

    Hi everyone, yes, absolutely the weather affects my RA. The worst for me is when a storm is coming, as the Low pressure approaches my pain level will inevitably go thru the roof. Then once the storm passes, so does my severe pain. I feel much better generally in the Summer with the warm temps, the heat soothes me. And with each Winter it seems the cold hurts me more and more.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    8 months ago

    I am the same way, pugpen! Though, thankfully, right before a storm I feel more “spongey”…Not sure how else to explain the sensation. I get more pain during actual rain but, like you, I thrive in warmer weather.

    ~Monica

  • suann
    8 months ago

    The lower the barometric pressure the worse the pain..rain snow cold hurts along with high humidity…No happy camper here…

  • Dragonsitter
    9 months ago

    I find this so true. I am sure your theory is correct. My doctor told me that the air pressure was important and I’ve noticed it ever since!!

    Also, I really suffer when flying, especially as the journey progresses!! Joints ache and feel puffy!! Cabin pressure causing a storm in my joints xxx

  • kkharrod
    8 months ago

    My doctor does believe it because there is not a compelling scientific study to prove the correlation. She actually seemed angered that I brought it up. Oh well. It helps me understand myself and plan my days a bit. I wish there was a barometric pressure hour by hour forecast. That would really help:)

  • Zeus
    9 months ago

    My rheumatologist at my December checkup suggested that I stop the Leflunamide I’d been taking for years. At my check up yesterday, he asked if I’d noticed anything different since stopping the drug. I hadn’t thought about it but my hands and fingers no longer are stiff, my pain level has gone from the usual #6 to a #3. Most importantly, I’m almost at 4 miles on my Y’s track. He said the drug causes problems like mine in some people & it takes awhile for the drug to get out of my system but I feel so much better.

  • CaseyH moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi again, Zeus! Wow, very interesting! Sounds like your doctor is really looking out for you and is willing to try different options to help you navigate your RA battle. That’s awesome! Of course, different medications (including stopping medications) can impact individuals in different ways, however, I’m glad to hear that this method was able to provide you with some relief! -Casey, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team

  • mary1958
    10 months ago

    I absolutely feel worse when the pressure rises. I live in Minnesota and it has been one heck of an up and down Winter, ouch!! Love the AA comment…I’m in AA and could sure use a program to deal with RA. Thanks for everyone sharing…it really helps. God bless.

  • mewhoshops
    8 months ago

    I love in Wisconsin and feel the same. If the barometer is rising so is my pain.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, mary1958!
    All the sharing of thoughts and experiences here at rheumatoidarthritis.net really does help, especially when I’m feeling isolated and alone in this disease. You folks in Minn. have had a heckuva winter this year–I hope that spring will show up soon and, with luck, give you a break from the cold and the joint pain. And yes, an AA program for RD would be quite something–though giving the disease up would be pretty easy for most of us!
    Hoping this finds you feeling well and laughing! 🙂

  • tckrd
    10 months ago

    I didn’t think about this until this article but I do have similar effects.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, tckrd,
    Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Interesting, isn’t it, how the weather affects us? Wishing you well and hoping you’ll stop in again soon. 🙂

  • BettyBusteed
    10 months ago

    I have wondered for quite awhile about weather. I seemed to be bothered more with cold damp weather. Winter is terrible for me. The nice hot sun in the summer time makes my joints feel so much better!

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, BettryBusteed!
    Winter is really hard for many of us with RD, so please don’t feel alone! We know just how you feel. I’m glad that summer is better for you! How about spring and autumn? Do those moderate (if constantly changing) temperatures bother you?
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it and hope you’ll stop in and speak up again soon. 🙂

  • MaryB
    11 months ago

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I’ve been wondering about the weather. We, in N.Y. are having some snow coming in and so the “storms in my joints” are having a ball. i am not enjoying this as much but it really helps to have you people out there who truly understand. Thank you for these different topics as they have helped me a lot.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, MaryB!
    Sometimes the joint pain this disease causes is so random, it’s hard to figure out what might be triggering it besides the disease itself. So having a possible one for pain preceding storms is comforting in its way. I agree that it’s nice to know there are others “out there” who understand just how we’re feeling–it’s why we’re all here, writing and reading this website. While winter isn’t over yet, I hope you’re feeling well. Spring is will be here before we know it. 🙂

  • sharoncookie57
    11 months ago

    Yes very much. The humid weather is the worst for me. Have to stay in AC all thru those days. I like sunny cool days. Raining hurts more too.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, sharoncookie57!
    Oh, I do feel for you! Being a California, dry-heat sort of gal, I haven’t spent much time in humid weather. The few times I did, I felt like I was wilting. Adding miserable joint pain to that doesn’t sound nice at all! Thank goodness for AC, whether it’s dry or humid.
    Thanks for commenting. I hope this finds you feeling well! 🙂

  • kristin
    11 months ago

    Pretty sure your theory is spot-on!!! That’s exactly what happens! My daughter is a science buff and studying Physics. She has explained the very same theory to me.
    For me it’s always before the storm. I can feel it in my joints WELL BEFORE the weather actually changes such as rain or snow or drops it rises in temps.
    So that tells me it us the pressure! In fact.. my kids don’t even watch the weather anymore, they just ask me if it’s going to rain!
    However … I will say that being out in the elements does make it even worse! I always wondered why my parents would tell me ” put a coat on, you’ll catch a cold “. When actually a cold is brought on by a virus!
    But now I realize that they put a coat on and dressed warmly to avoid making their older bones from aching more than they should! If bones ache….then you feel like you caught the flu!

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, kristin!
    How terrific that you have such a smart daughter! Physics! I feel the change before storms, too, though I’m not bothered so much during. Funny how each of us is different, isn’t it? Just like RD affects each of us a little differently, too, I guess. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • Richard Faust moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi kristin. The change in pressure certainly precedes the change in weather. Thought you might be interested in this article from one of our contributors where she writes about a discussion with a rheumatologist about the weather: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/whether-the-weather/. The rheumatologist says that scientists noting the lack of evidence that weather can effect joint pain need to see her office in the fall when the weather changes. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • kristin
    11 months ago

    And these doctors amaze me! How can you specialize in an illness but have no common sense? I tell them these things happen to me and they look at me like I’m nuts bc it wasn’t in their textbook, therefore it can’t be true!
    Really? And we trust them with our lives? It’s very scary to me!

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, kristin,
    I’ve always wondered about that, too. I know there have been a few studies about weather and arthritis, but as I recall, they ended up without discovering much one way or another. I do think that when you have a bunch of patients all saying the same thing–and they haven’t talked to each other about it–maybe they’re onto something! Great comment! I hope you’re well. 🙂

  • MaryB
    11 months ago

    Bingo Kristin.
    I’ve been told three times I should be teaching ileostomy things as the residents have made comments like we can’t learn all this in books. No kidding.

  • GGcRA
    12 months ago

    I definitely feel the difference. when barometer changes and can feel rain and snow coming ,different joints ache especially right knee for cold rain or snow and back pain and feet for rain..

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Wow, GGcRA! I’ve never noticed that any of my specific joints ache before specific weather phenonmena, though I can think of several times when knowing I’d wake up to snow before having to go to work would have been helpful! I do know it helps to know that I’m not the only one who feels weather changes like this, though. Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment. I hope you’re feeling well now! 🙂

  • LesJames
    12 months ago

    I am reading about the affect that weather has on RA. As I sit here I am aching all over my feet are crippling and my shoulders and other joints feel like sH$t. I also have more than a keen interest in the weather and have a better than average weather station, guess what the pressure has risen 7mb over the last 12 hours. Is it coincidence that the rise in pressure over the last 12+ hours has had an impact on my condition. I might just have to pay more attention and log some of this. In one of my previous jobs I was an advanced meteorologist.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    Hi, LesJames!
    While I’m sorry that you, too, feel the changes in pressure in your joints like so many of us do, I’m excited to hear that you have more advanced understanding of weather. I’m excited to know what you learn about your pain vs. rising/falling pressure. I bet lots of other folks with RD would, too. Thanks so much for commenting! And I hope you’re feeling better today. 🙂

  • tckrd
    1 year ago

    What you have said is so so so true. Thank you for bringing it to light.

  • Wren moderator author
    10 months ago

    My pleasure, tckrd! While having a possible explanation for it doesn’t make our joints feel any better, it’s nice to have something other than the disease itself to blame it on! Wishing you well. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • moonslide
    1 year ago

    Am in SoCal, and the summer heat certainly had me flaring much more often! Thanks for your insight.

  • Wren moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi, moonslide!
    What a wonderful “handle!” It’s so evocative and sounds like such fun!
    I find it really interesting that the summer sun and heat California is so well known and loved for can also cause some of us so much pain and discomfort. I’m glad that my musings gave you food for thought, too.
    Thanks for commenting. Wishing you the best! 😀

  • DebeezRA
    1 year ago

    Oh yes weather changes effect RA victims. I’m less than layman with weather terms and their actuality effectiveness with the human body but make no mistake, my body feels it. I can advance from stage ll minimal assistive needs to stage 5 unable to complete any tasks without assistance in a snap of a finger. I’ve noticed the worst effects occur as the barometric pressure rises when rain is moving in. I mean debilitating effects. So no, it is not your imagination…this is the most unpredictable, inconsiderate disease I have ever seen(lol). One day jumping from a tree and the next you’re lucky if you can pour yourself a cup of coffee! When a less active day arrives at my doorstep, I shift into 4 wheel drive with a 4.0 L engine and do anything and everything I possibly can business and leisure because the ability to complete those tasks may not be available the next day. Maybe the RA dx will inherit yet another coexisting symptom or characteristic called binge tasker and we can meet in support groups with NA and AA and share binge stories I hope that statement offended absolutely no one and it actually produced an aloud chuckle. Lovely and blessed day to all my new aquaintance who probably understand one another more than life long family members.

  • Wren moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi, DebeezRA!
    I laughed out loud at the idea of a 12-step meeting for RA-binge-tasker! And yes, I do believe we all do that, using our good, low-or-no-pain days to get as much done as possible. This disease is truly unpredictable, and it changes over time, as well. Rainy weather didn’t used to make much difference in how I felt during the cold months, but it does now, usually starting a couple of days before the rain arrives. I’m actually better at predicting rainstorms than the TV weather-people are.
    Thanks so much for your smart, humorous comment. You’re right that those of us who have and experience this disease from day to day understand each other better than our family members do. We have RA–they don’t. But thank goodness for their love and support!
    Wishing you a joyous holiday and a very happy New Year! 😀

  • scarlett19
    1 year ago

    it makes total sense. i wholeheartedly agree

  • Wren moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi Scarlett19!
    Thanks for stopping by to comment. It’s so good to know that my fellow RA’ers out there understand–and know–what I’m talking about in terms of weather and how it affects us.
    Here’s wishing you a happy, pain-free holiday and a joyous New Year! 🙂

  • Bovv
    2 years ago

    Yes you are spot on with your observations. I live in Qld Australia and the effects are the same even though we don’t have real cold.

  • Wren moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi, Bovv!
    Yay–another yea vote for my Barometric Achy Joint Pressure Theory! Here in nothern California the weather is never *really* cold, like it gets in some parts of the US and Europe every fall and winter. But those pressure changes sure do seem to make a difference, even though it’s generally warmish.
    Thanks for stopping by and piping up! 😀

  • Glenda McDonald
    4 years ago

    Oh am I glad to know that I am not the only one that is affected by the weather! I can predict a thunderstorm an hour or two before it hits! The pain can put me on the bed curled up in the fetal position! And you are right in that no two people with RA are affected the same by weather changes!

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Glenda! Personally, I think the whole thing about weather and RA is just fascinating, and given how many of us are affected, I’m surprised that the medical and scientific worlds aren’t more interested in studying it.

    In the meantime, it is sorta cool to be able to predict oncoming storms, isn’t it? I guess if I had to give that ability up though, along with the pain and disability, I’d gladly do it.

    Take care and be well. And thanks for stopping by.

  • Barbara Vincent
    4 years ago

    Yes weather effects my RA. right now there is a cyclone off the coast and when I woke up this morning my right thumb was swollen, red, stiff and very painful. Low atmospheric pressure seems to cause me the most problems. Also suffer a lot when the weather is cold.

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Oh, OW Barbara! And isn’t it amazing how much can’t be accomplished when a thumb goes south on you? A cyclone sounds pretty scary, too. I hope it passed on through without causing too much chaos.

    Seems like more people are bothered by cold and damp than warm and dry, so you’re in good company. Thanks for commenting–it’s good to make contact with others who “get it.” Next time!

  • Carly
    4 years ago

    I fully agree! I live in Kansas, which means weather is a roller coaster all year long. Last week we had weather in the 70s and then snow. I have such a hard time with the barometric pressure changes. That also effects my migraines, as the weather is my trigger.

    Your theory does make sense and brings logic to a question I have long asked!

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    You know, Carly, I only recently found out that weather affects migraines as well. I wonder if it’s because of expanding and contracting fluids in the body, as well?

    I believe you when you say that the weather is a roller coaster in Kansas–I watched the Wizard of Oz, after all (wink, sorry). Seriously, though, barometric changes that happen that fast must be close to devastating for you. How do you handle those flares?

    Thanks for the comment and for stopping by. :o)

  • Carolyn Haney
    4 years ago

    Thank you for the very interesting information about RA and weather. I seem to have more pain when it’s very cold or muggy and raining also. I find almost everything about this RA very confusing and frustrating. I look forward to learning everything I can about this disease so keep all this information coming.
    God Bless,
    Carolyn Haney

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Carolyn,
    Most people I’ve talked to who have RA also seem bothered more by rain, cold, and humidity, so you’re certainly not alone. RA really is a puzzle of a disease, but you’ve come to the right place for information and community here. If you haven’t already, be sure to click on the info tabs at the top of this page. It’s all good, solid, accurate, and plentiful. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

  • Jenny
    4 years ago

    Actually, a drop in barometric pressure causes fluid expansion as three is less air pressure exerting force on the outside of a fluid-filled container, and vice versa. Because I can get pain with either rapidly rising or lowering pressures, I believe it is the rate of change, up or down, which causes pain. Here in the Midwest, we are more likely to have rapid drops in pressure with storms, but rapidly moving high pressures cause pain as well, although this is much rarer.

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Ah, Jenny. Thank you for the clarification! I’ve noticed myself that often, the pain is more intense during the actual rising or falling of air pressure, and not necessarily when it’s steady. I’ve wondered how people in the Midwest handle those wild storms with such rapid changes in air pressure. Makes me wince for you! Take care and be well.

  • Cindy
    4 years ago

    Our PA at my Rheumatologist actually used the term Barometric Pressure Change when I went in wondering about one of those You all know say it FLARES. She said Cindy there’s a change in the barometric pressure we’ve seen a lot of patients this week. Hmmm so barometric pressures were not my forte in college…. So I admit ignorance in that field. After reading your article I’m definitely going to have a look at those reads. I’m in the dessert of AZ. Seems like RA knows no rhyme or reason and just when I think I am figuring something out about it, a new symptom appears. I love the pic btw of the swollen joints moving across the map!! Thanks for sharing. And, feel better everyone…it’s a pain, but staying positive Sure helps

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Cindy! It’s encouraging to hear that your PA notices a pick-up in biz when the pressure changes–that’s more than the scientist-types will admit. 😉 I agree that RA has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I hurt, check the weather page expecting to see the barometer rising or falling, and nada. What?!? Sigh. It just does what it does. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nanci Burns
    4 years ago

    Yes, Ma’am, I believe your theory makes sense. I also experience more pain with higher barometric pressure.

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Nancy! Sounds like you’re my Rising Barometer Buddy. 😉 Glad you stopped in, and hope you’re feeling well today.

  • Pat
    4 years ago

    Hmmm. Might be a good thing to add to pain diary for triggers. Migraine too. I have cold issues too. Hate it, makes my joints hurt even more. Rheumy said that’s the osteoarthritis. Whatever. Wish someone would invent a way to measure pain, lime a thermometer or a blood pressure cuff.

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Pat! Hmmm… a Painometer, perhaps? I love the idea! No more 1-to-10 pain scales that actually tell the doc nothing much, since pain is so wrapped up in perception: my pain isn’t your pain, etc. I didn’t realize that barometric pressure might affect migraines, too, but it makes a certain sense that they would. Thanks for stopping in!

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    4 years ago

    This totally resonates! I have weather affecting my joints and pain all the time. Wish we could turn it off! Best, Kelly

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Oh, so do I, Kelly. I’ve been feeling so bad for everyone living on the East coast these last few weeks, with all the cold and endless snow. I know how that can cause miserable joint pain and trigger flares. But here on the Left coast ( 😉 ) it’s all high pressure and ridiculously mild, dry weather–and I hurt, too. Sometimes it seems like we just can’t win!

  • Tamara Haag moderator
    4 years ago

    That’s so interesting! I have long been frustrated by the impact changing barometric pressure has on my RA, but I had never stopped to think about the physics behind it. Very thought-provoking.

  • Wren moderator author
    4 years ago

    Hi, Tamara! This was a fun “ahah!” moment for me, and I’m glad to share it. RA is such an enigma of a disease, I feel good whenever I can figure out reasons, such as they are. I wish there was a scientist or physicist reader out there who might be able to tell me if I’m onto something or not. :o)

  • CarolQ
    10 months ago

    I can totally feel when a storm (rain or snow) is coming! I’m from Chicago, IL where we can have 4 seasons in 1 day!! It totally kills my joints. On top of it I have Fibromyalgia, so I’m pretty much a big ball of hurt! My doc wants me to move to San Diego, CA because when I went there to see the ocean for the first time in my life I was able to walk more than I have in 10 years!!

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