Can Arthritic Joints Really Predict The Weather?

Share Article

Medical experts Dr. Sarah Miller and Dr. Joseph Horrigan weigh in and offer helpful tips on navigating flip-flop weather patterns with less pain.

Recent research has found that the changes in barometric pressure actually do exacerbate inflammation in arthritic joints.

“A storm is coming…I feel it in my joints.” For many of the estimated 52.5 million arthritis sufferers in the United States (according to the CDC), these words are familiar. Yet, can arthritic joints really predict the weather? Once written off as an old wives’ tale, this kind of prediction is actually closer to the truth than most realize, according to Dr. Sarah Miller and Dr. Joseph Horrigan, experts in physical medicine and soft tissue, respectively, for DISC Sports & Spine Center.

“The key to this issue is barometric pressure, which drops immediately before storms appear,” Dr. Miller explains. “Recent research has found that the changes in barometric pressure actually do exacerbate inflammation in arthritic joints.”

Adds Dr. Horrigan: “When a high- or low-pressure system comes in, people may report aches and pains even when it’s not terribly cold. What they’re experiencing is the impact of changing barometric pressure on fluids in the body… namely joint fluid.”

The doctors go on to explain that, as the barometric pressure drops, fluid inside of arthritic joints can gently expand, putting extra pressure and tension that leads to increased pain. Hence, physiological changes in one’s body can sometimes predict upcoming weather changes.

“And once your body—or your local forecaster—has alerted you that weather changes are on the way, it’s now your turn to prepare accordingly to help navigate finicky weather with less pain,” says Dr. Miller.

Here are five quick tips for arthritis sufferers dealing with flip-flop weather patterns so common in the early spring:

1. Dress the Part – Dress in layers that allow you to adapt easily to climate change. Cold tends to make tissue less pliable, so joints will feel stiffer when you’re not warm enough, and hot weather can make people more pliable and more loose.

2. Stretch and Warm Up – By taking a few minutes to stretch and warm up before heading out in any weather, you’ll help keep tissues pliable and reduce the symptoms of barometric pressures on your joints.

3. Stay Hydrated – Whether it’s hot or cold, your body needs adequate fluids to perform at its best. Dehydration may be more obvious in hot weather, but can be just as big of a threat when it’s cold. Keep a source of water with you.

4. Get Plenty of Rest – While it may sound cliché, rest is essential to keeping your joints working properly, especially during periods of arthritis flare-ups brought on by barometric pressure changes and other sources. Try your best to get at least 7-8 hours each night.

5. Eat to Live – Eat to live, not live to eat, and reduce your intake of inflammatory “triggers” such as fried and processed foods, sugars and refined carbohydrates, salt and preservatives and saturated fats.

About DISC Sports & Spine Center
DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced microscopic techniques. DISC’s highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient and a zero MRSA infection rate. DISC’s ambulatory surgery centers include Diagnostic and Interventional Surgical Center and DISC Surgery Center at Newport Beach, both accredited by the AAAHC. DISC is also the official medical services provider for Red Bull and a proud partner of the LA Kings. In addition, as a former official medical services provider for the US Olympic team, DISC has successfully treated many of the athletes who participated in London with minimally invasive techniques. For more information, contact 866-481-DISC or visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Garrett Bray
Visit website