The rain is upon us and if joint pain and inflammation has got you down, you’re not alone. There’s a very real correlation between barometric pressure and inflammation. So let’s break down the facts:
Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us. When it’s warm out, our bodies pull fluid into the tissues and joints.
If you imagine the tissues surrounding the joints to be like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding.
But barometric pressure often drops before bad weather sets in. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint.
When there’s less pressure we expand. For example, on a plane, despite a pressurized cabin our feet and legs swell. Some are at risk for deep vein thrombosis. Our blood pressure goes up as our body swells and expands.
Furthermore, when people have chronic pain, sometimes nerves can become more sensitized because of injury, inflammation, scarring, or adhesions.
For whatever reason, the nerves are just hypersensitive, and they just keep firing, based on what you do — or not for any reason at all. But if there’s some expansion internally — in other words, the body can either expand or contract based on outside pressure changes — then that’s going to affect how pain is signaled.