Many conditions lead to joint pain such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. This pain can range from a mildly irritating ache to debilitating pain, and it can last days, weeks, or even months. That’s why joint pain is so hard to treat. Many people ask if outside factors such as the weather, humidity, caffeine, or alcohol can also play a role in joint pain. To answer these questions we’ve outlined 4 effects of outside factors on joint pain.
I know it sounds like a crazy wive’s tale, but the truth is the weather can effect joint pain, in fact it can even start a flare up before the rain starts falling. Medical professionals seem to have conflicting beliefs about how and why the weather has an effect on joint pain, but one idea suggests changes in air pressure. Most people say that the rain, wind, snow, or cold is what worsens their pain levels, when in reality doctors think it could be barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is defined as the weight from the atmosphere and how it surrounds us. High levels of barometric pressure push against the body and prevent tissues surrounding the joint from expanding. When inclement weather sets in, barometric pressure drops and lower air pressure pushes less against the body. Tissues around the joints expand and result in more pressure and pain. Additionally, people in chronic pain have increased sensitivity in their nerves because of scarring, injury, or inflammation – increasing their pain levels even more. These arguments remain hypothetical as more studies are needed to gather evidence to support them.
Humidity is said to mostly affect those with osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis and causes discomfort, stiffness, and swelling of the joints. People with general arthritis do not normally experience these issues with humidity. Running a dehumidifier in the home can help avoid these issues and decrease discomfort. Knowing that humidity may adversely affect your arthritis can help you plan your life and avoid certain places or times of the year in specific climates.
The research concerning caffeine and arthritis pain widely ranges between benefits and disadvantages. Some studies say one cup of coffee daily can help, others say caffeine can worsen pain levels. One study showed a correlation between rheumatoid arthritis in women and coffee consumption. In general, discomfort concerning joint pain was seen in those people who consume high amounts of caffeine daily – about 4 cups or more of coffee. As with all things diet related, caffeine can be beneficial in small doses.
Alcohol intake is a known risk factor for gout, can result in weight gain, and elevate risk for osteoporosis. We know from diet recommendations that excessive alcohol use can cause damage to your liver, kidneys, stomach, and brain. Muscles, bones, and cartilage are also vulnerable to your diet, which can be affected by alcohol use. Alcohol takes a toll on the body’s metabolism slowing down energy levels, and impeding nutrients from reaching the cells. Alcohol can also be a dangerous component when combined with other medications or joint supplements. It’s always a good idea to keep your alcohol consumption moderate.
As you can see, diet and weather can impact joint conditions and pain, making it crucial to keep these in mind as we think about our daily activities and controlling our pain levels. These 4 factors are important to keep in mind as we treat our joint conditions and take medications or supplements to relieve pain.
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