You probably hear something like this from time to time: “I can always tell when it’s going to rain because my knee will act up.” Some people have an injury and then all of a sudden they are human weather-people. Others say this is just a bunch of nonsense. So is it really true? Can the weather influence how the body feels?
Like many things, the published research and clinical experience do not fully agree. The research does say that the weather influences us for some things, but typically not for joint pain. Our experience in the clinic is a little different though.
Some research shows that temperature changes do alter immune system function. This explains why you get more sick in winter than at other times of the year. Similar – we also know that gene expression changes depending on the season. This also affects how you may or may not get sick in winter. It could also affect things like seasonal affective disorder, but we don’t know as much about that.
East Asian medical theory says that the body mimics & adapts to the environment. If the weather is cold, your body will contract. If the weather is damp or humid, your body will hold onto more water. And if the weather is hot, your body will expand or possibly be more inflamed. It is because of these kinds of changes that joint health with weather changes. So if your knee is swollen or inflamed, then in humid weather or if the barometric pressure changes, you might be more likely to have pain. We see this kind of thing a lot with patients who have arthritis, low-grade inflammation, or other chronic pain.
Because this type of medicine acknowledges that joint health can change with the weather, it has treatments for it as well. Specifically, certain acupuncture points are chosen to help the body adapt better to weather changes. Often this kind of treatment results in better overall health because the entire body becomes more resilient to humidity and pressure change. So if you’re one of those people who do have health & pain level changes with the weather, acupuncture can help you, and we hope you will schedule your consultation today to find some relief!