By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals
Have you ever heard someone say, "A storm must be coming…I can feel it in my bones." Is that an "old wives tale" or can aching joints actually predict weather changes?
It may be hard to believe, but one leading theory indicates weather can affect joint and muscle pain due to changes in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure, which is the weight of the atmosphere, often drops before bad weather sets in. Lower air pressure pushes less against the body, which allows tissues to expand. These expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint.
Even if you have aching joints, don't give up on physical activity. Swimming and bicycling are among the best exercises you can do because both allow you to exercise your joints without putting impact on them. And because water is buoyant, swimming relieves some of the pressure on your joints. Work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve your range of motion.
Some research indicates that glucosamine or fish oil supplements can help with joint pain. Of course, talk with your doctor before starting any new medication.
Be sure to watch the "Ask the Doc" video to learn more!