Barometric Pressure and Arthritis: Is There an Association?
According to a study published in Anesthesiology News in 2005, changes in barometric pressure do influence arthritis symptoms. After studying 205 arthritis sufferers across the nation via a randomized, controlled study, they found that arthritis pain increased with decreases in temperature and with a rise in barometric pressure. Interestingly, barometric pressure goes up on dry, sunny days when you would intuitively expect arthritis sufferers to experience less pain, not more.
Why would increases in barometric pressure worsen arthritis pain? One theory is that rises in barometric pressure increase pressure in the joint spaces leading to worsening inflammation and pain.
Not all studies show an association between barometric pressure and arthritis. Some suggest that barometric pressure has little or no effect on joint symptoms in people with arthritis, but many of these studies are small and believed to be flawed, according to experts who still believe that barometric pressure plays a role in arthritis pain.
Other studies suggest that it’s actually decreases in barometric pressure that trigger arthritis pain. A drop in barometric pressure could cause tissues that are inflamed by arthritis to expand even more, thereby aggravating the pain. This would support claims by people that their arthritis symptoms worsen when it’s cold, rainy or damp outside.