How Weather Affects Chronic Pain

September 2, 2020 5:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You’ve probably heard people who claim they can feel bad weather on the horizon because their joints swell up, or they start to feel pain. Although it sounds like an old wives’ tale, medical professionals have begun to study the effects of weather on chronic pain in Napa County, CA, and it appears that there may be some validity to those claims. Continue reading to learn how pain and nasty weather are related.


Scientists don’t totally agree on why pain increases before weather in Napa County, CA, but there are a few leading theories. These are a few of the top ones:

  • Barometric pressure: We’re surrounded by atmospheric weight known as barometric pressure. When the weather turns bad or the temperature drops, so does the barometric pressure. As the barometric pressure becomes lower, the air pressing against our bodies lessens. This allows tendons, muscles and tissue around our joints to expand. Anything in your body expanding is typically a bad thing, and can result in some serious pain.
  • Nerve hypersensitivity: Injuries and strains sustained to nerves may come back to haunt us later on in life. As people age, these damaged nerves become hypersensitive to cold temperatures. Lower temperatures could cause these nerves to swell up and feel painful.
  • Synovial fluid: Each joint is surrounded by synovial fluid that acts as a shock absorber. When it gets cold outside, the fluid moves more slowly, stiffening joints and making them uncomfortable to move or touch.
  • Body cells: If you’ve taken a biology class, you know that our bones and cartilage are all made up of cells. When there are extreme temperature fluctuations—either high or low—the cells may become slightly damaged, resulting in achy joints.
  • Reduced physical activity: People tend to stay inside more when the temperatures are cold. This reduction in physical activity throughout the winter can result in joint complications. Our advice is to stay as active as possible throughout the year.

What’s the solution?

You don’t have to live with pain every time the temperature changes! Take these steps to reduce your pain symptoms:

  • See a therapist: If your pain increases before weather in Napa County, CA, your first step should be to see a licensed physical therapist. A therapist will start by identifying the root of the pain before working alongside you to create a specialized plan for treating it.
  • Stay warm: Try to stay as warm as possible when it gets cold out. Take a hot shower or bath, and then cozy up with an electric blanket. If you have to go outside, be sure to wear several layers and a thick pair of gloves.
  • Exercise: Yoga, swimming or other gentle exercises are easy on the joints and can help build up muscle and bone strength. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight has been proven to reduce joint strain and pain.

Stop feeling the effects of weather on chronic pain in Napa County, CA and come see our specialists at Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy. Regardless of where you feel pain, our licensed practitioners can help relieve it.

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