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Can you feel a storm coming in your knees? Does your hip tip you off that a cold front is just around the corner? You’re not alone, and you’re not imagining things.
People often think that “feeling” the weather in your bones is an old wives’ tale, but it turns out that it’s actually a real phenomenon for people with arthritis or musculoskeletal issues, says Coordinated Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Ferrante.
Dr. Ferrante explains that when your joints start hurting ahead of a snow storm, what you’re actually feeling is the change in atmospheric pressure that precipitates weather events.
“If there is a cold front coming, the barometric pressure drops and this causes the joints to swell up. The pressure in the joint remains the same, which causes swelling.”
That swelling causes pressure on nerve receptors in the lining of the joint, leading to pain and discomfort. And on top of that, cold air causes tendons and ligaments to tighten, which leaves your joints feeling stiff and achy.
If you’re experiencing tightness or pain in your joints, sitting still will only make it worse. Stretching and physical therapy will always be helpful for arthritis and joint issues, but they’re especially important during the changing seasons. If there’s a big storm or cold front forecast in the weather report, Dr. Ferrante recommends staying ahead of the game by stretching and keeping active so that your muscles, tendons, and ligaments don’t seize up. Taking Ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication will also help with pain caused by swelling.