Rainy Day and RA

The RA Forecast — Rainy with a Chance of Pain and Stiffness

Do you ever feel like the weather is doing a number on your RA?  I know I do – last week we had a temperature drop of 20 degrees in 24 hours, and I definitely experienced increased pain /stiffness in my fingers and hands. Fortunately, my RA is pretty well – controlled most of the time, but the weather somehow manages to make sure I don’t forget it’s STILL THERE! My biggest gripe is with some of my fingers — try opening a jar or pulling out the little thingy in your carton of almond milk when your fingers feel like mini sausages — yikes!  I’ve  seen a lot of anecdotal evidence about this pain in the butt problem from others in our tribe, but most doctors on the conventional end of the spectrum don’t think weather is really an issue with RA.

However, there are studies out there that provide some evidence to help back up the link between RA,  joint pain, and swelling. A 2007 Tufts University study concluded that for every 10 degree drop in temperature, there was an incremental increase in rheumatoid arthritis pain.  Barometric pressure changes may also be at play, as any fluctuation may put pressure on the nerve endings in your tissues, equaling joint pain and stiffness. A 2010 article reviewing several studies came to the consensus that as barometric pressure decreases, arthritic pain increases.  No kidding! Unfortunately, there just as many studies out there with inconclusive results that don’t support the link between RA and weather change.  All of which just proves my theory that you can make a study prove anything you want.  Beyond frustrating!

I wish I had quick fix for this annoyance but I’m still working on it. I guess you could say “I am seeking solutions and solutions are coming to me.” I’ll keep you posted.  However, if you’ve found a secret (or not so secret) answer to this aggravating problem, please leave a comment below.

About the author

Susan Taylor, RDN LD is a registered dietitian / nutritionist with 20+ years experience in the nutrition field.  Susan has worked in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, longterm care, rehab, and private practice. She currently enjoys life in the Charleston, SC area and is always looking for ways to fit in a little more beach time.