Many people with bad hips or achy joints complain about how the pain gets more significant when the weather is bad or if it’s raining. I started to wonder why this is. How can the weather affect people bones and joints?
I thought this was going to a complicated explanation with psychology issues, but the answer is simply: pressure. Atmospheric pressure, also called barometric pressure, is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere of Earth. As the weather gets worse, the barometric pressure decreases. When this pressure drops, the pressure put on our bodies through gravity drops as well. When the pressure on the body drops, joints and pains in the body can begin to swell and cause inflammation, which can explain the pain the people experience before a storm.
Our body has two defense mechanisms for the pain a person normally feels: adrenaline and cortisone. These hormones help the body with energy, mood, immune function, pain management. At night, these hormones slow production so that the body is able to fall asleep. However, when these hormones stop being produced, we are more susceptible to getting sick or feeling pain. Which is why colds or pains become more severe at night. These hormones also decrease production before a storm. As the barometer falls (the indicator of a storm or bad weather), the positive charge, or “ions”, in all atoms increase which causes a decrease of cortisone in the body.
Depending on age, or illness, the ability to “predict” the weather based off of the symptoms the body is experiencing can vary. For example, elderly people have a more acute sense because they no longer have the same ability to overcome the changes in pressure as if they did when they were younger. There are different techniques doctors recommend to deal with chronic pain, fatigue, or depression, which can all be enhanced with the change in barometric pressure, however, the amount of cortisone that is lost when this change occurs is still significant enough to enhance any joint pains or aches in the body. Since cortisone is a steroid, it would be considered unhealthy to take steroids in order to reduce this pain, considering that could kill you.
The takeaway from this post is that the change in barometric pressure in the atmosphere can allow some people to predict the weather if their knee starts to bother them more than usual. It is an annoying but cool trick.