Baby It’s Cold Outside! How Cold Weather Affects my PsA

Sometimes it seems as though my right knee is a weather barometer. When the weather is bad, so are my joints.

How cold weather affects PsA

You may have heard this phenomenon before, there is actually a science to why our joints worsen depending on the weather. Weather.com reports the following, “…Barometric pressure: Any change in pressure, or the weight of the air pressing against the surface of the earth, can trigger joint pain or headaches…”

I started to experience joint pain back in March when my biologic started to fail. I had always felt pain in my right knee here and there, but now I also notice pain in my the joints of my right fingers and sometimes my lower back. At first I thought it was pain from exercising, but as each day passed by I started to realize this was pain associated with PsA.

How to cope

This is a new issue for me and I’m slowly learning ways on how to cope and manage my psoriatic disease. Here are some methods and tips I use to alleviate the pain, but be sure to consult with your doctor before adjusting your current regime!

Soak in a warm bath

Soaking in warm water (not hot) can be very soothing and relaxing especially for your muscles and joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the warm water reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint. Think about what I mentioned earlier: A barometer measures air pressure. Air pressure is at it’s highest when it’s cold because air is more dense and close together, which in turn causes gravity to compress more against our joints. Therefore, the warm water increases circulation of blood around joints while decreasing pain and swelling of joints.

You can also add oils, epsom salt, and oatmeal to your bath water for maximum results.

Low impact exercises

I usually feel pain the most in the morning after laying still for 8 hours. Once I start moving the pain eases up, but sometimes it can be a challenge making those first moves out the bed. I also noticed the more I exercise the less pain I feel. I started playing kickball in a league back in April. The exercise I get from kickball has really helped me to manage the pain. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends people with PsA should do low impact exercises which include stretching, walking, aerobics, and weight building.

Heating pads and cold packs

Cold packs can numb the pain while heating pads help to ease swelling and relax muscles. If I don’t have an official pack nearby, I wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel to place on my knee or I wet a towel with really hot water. I don’t use them at the same time, and I really don’t have a method on what I use when.

What are your tips and best practices for managing PsA pain? Share in a comment below or ask a question about managing pain on our treatment forum board!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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