The weather and your joints

A man with his arms outstretched, facing into the sun

Most people think there’s a link between weather patterns and how their muscles and joints feel.

This belief almost certainly pre-dates the ancient Greeks, one of whom – Hippocrates – believed it too.

There are probably lots of weather mechanisms that might create changes in the body.

For example, it may not be rainfall per se that triggers a rise in joint pain. People living with rheumatoid arthritis often report this phenomenon.

Instead, it might be the drop in atmospheric pressure that usually accompanies wet weather.

An explanation might be;

  • swollen rheumatoid joints are already in a high-pressure state relative to the rest of the body
  • lowering atmospheric pressure makes this relatively high intra-joint pressure greater
  • hence even worse symptoms

And then there is the sunshine effect.

We know this works through raising feel-good nitric oxide levels in the body, probably quite a quick effect compared to the slower impact of rising vitamin D levels.

Moreover, warmer weather makes all our skeletal muscle function better, up to a point.