While cold weather doesn’t cause arthritis or most other conditions that get worse when temperatures drop, it can cause problems for people who have them.
We are really in the months of rainy season now. In the past week, it has rained cat and dog almost in every part of the country. For many people, rainy season is a welcome time of the year. But for people with certain diseases, like arthritis of joints including the back, it can be painful—literally. While cold weather doesn’t cause arthritis or most other conditions that get worse when temperatures drop, it can cause problems for people who have them. If you’ve got one of these conditions, there are things you should know so as to be able to understand the link between changes in weather and joint pain and what one need to do so as to survive the rainy period.
Weather affects different people differently, some people actually prefer cold weather, but many people with pain in the back and other joints, will be stiffer in the morning. It can take them longer to get
up and loosen their joints and get going. Indeed, cold weather exacerbates pain in the back.
There’s very little research showing that cold weather directly causes pain in the back or arthritis or alters its course. The question now is this: why does the cold seem to make these health conditions feel worse?
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Are you presently going through the challenges of back pain symptoms exacerbated? Have you wondered why the increase in the number of persons with back pain and other joint pains at the doctors consulting rooms as soon as the rains start? You may not appreciate this except you are a victim of joint health challenge (including spine & other joints of the body).
I have earlier written on this issue in 2011 and 2014. As a practicing physiotherapist and PhD research student in human kinetics, it is no surprise why there is the alarming increase in persons with joint pain during the rains. I have followed and compared the prevalence of this common back pain, both in dry season and rainy season and observed that the incidence of back pain symptoms is usually on the increase whenever the rains are about coming or is present.
Medical science doesn’t recognise that cold weather aggravates joint problems, but it is a very common complaint among sufferers of back and other joint pain. Cold weather should not make your joints ache unless they are abnormal in some way to begin with.
The flood of mails to my box with respect to back pain being aggravated by change of weather condition calls for proper explanation and more importantly the way out. Hear the complains of victims:
As Soon as the environment become humid, my back pain would start immediately and would continue to increase with the rains present’ – Mrs. Evelyn.
‘… I don’t try getting into the rains because of my knee pain, unless you want me to become invalid’ – Deaconess Esther.
‘Now the rains have started, I no longer take my children to school; it is my husband who does it. My back pain wouldn’t allow me wake up early to prepare the children; my back gets stiff’. – Mrs. Adegoke.
“ I dare not go out with light dress during the rains, otherwise, my back would remain stiff for some good period of time” – Mrs. Olomola.
“ Since the rains touched ground, I have stopped going to my shop. I don’t want this back pain to cripple me” –Mrs. Ifeduba.
“There are no public places in Nigeria where you go to warm your joints up. Many people would soon be disabled” – Mrs. Okpokoba.
“I am never myself whenever there are changes in the weather, especially during cold or rainy season. Whenever the weather gets cold and damp, it aggravates my aching back. I have spoken to my doctor on several occasions for explanation, but he often gave me vague answers. The drugs I take for the pain are doubled during this time and I remain indoors trying to keep myself warm. I hardly attend to my business at this period of the season. There is no drug prescribed by my doctor I have not taken for the pain that ever gave me respite. This my condition will continue until the dry season when I will get some relief. Nobody has satisfactorily explained to me the reason for the increased pain during cold weather.”
This was the complaint of Alhaja Kudiratu from Ketu in Lagos State in a text message.
Mrs. Adeyinka (43 years), an executive secretary with a popular communication company in Nigeria had this complaint: “Whenever there is a change in the weather it quickly reflects on my existing back and knee pain. Now that the rains are here with us, I hardly go to work with light clothes. I must cloth myself heavily, otherwise I may find myself having serious pain all over my back and knees and walking becomes difficult.”
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Listen to what Ms. Yinka said: “As soon as the rains started this year, I applied for annual leave to enable me look after my back pain and hip pain that get perennially worse during the rains.”
Mrs. Ijeoma, 40 years old Human Resource Manager in an oil servicing company, Port Harcourt said: “To be frank, I don’t get okay at all when the rains come because of the pain in my back. I prefer the dry season. I am more active in the dry season even though I have existing pain, I dare not come out of my house during the rains; it is my husband that helps me in shopping. If I try to do so I will come back with my back and joints stiff and painful, so I don’t attempt it at all.”
Mr. Edwin has ordered his secretary not to switch on the air conditioner at all whenever she is tidying up or putting his office in order in the morning. His reason was that his back pain worsens after doing his office work in the air-conditioned room.
Many back pain patients suffering other joint pains (arthritis patients) claim weather affects how they feel. Some people with arthritis believe that symptoms of arthritis (such as pain and stiffness) are influenced by changes in the weather. Is there a connection between weather and arthritis symptoms?
As the weather changes, so can the pressure in your joints. If you think of the tissues surrounding the joint as a balloon, according to Professor Gourley’s explanation, the balloon around the joint will expand a little when air pressure is low. The expanding tissues put pressure on the joint. People can actually feel changes in air pressure in their joints, which is why some people say they can predict the weather by the pain in their joints.
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With such a condition at a time like this, do not neglect physiotherapy. Physiotherapy care is a preferred panacea to physical pain, such as this. Regular sessions of skillful physiotherapy care will bring respite and succor to victims of such physical problem. With the use of action therapy and electrotherapy coupled with therapeutic exercise regimen, a skilled physiotherapist would be able to abolish the pain or dramatically reduce it within few sessions. Talk to your doctor for a referral to functional physiotherapy centre and the difference will be clear.