“Why does my back ache when the weather turns?”

Does it seem like your joints ache more when certain weather is approaching? There is one possible theory that supports your observation.

When rain is imminent, the extra water vapour in the air lowers the air pressure. Some academics have postulated that this lower air pressure is responsible for a minor increase in joint swelling. This occurs because the air pressure, which normally exerts a force on our bodies in all directions from the outside, is now lower, allowing the swelling to expand slightly. This extra fluid around the joint then leads to aching and stiffness.

weather cartoon

This theory explains the assertion of some arthritic sufferers that they can tell when it is about to rain because their back aches. However, this theory does not explain why the same people usually suffer from the cold temperatures in winter, the winds in autumn, and the humidity and storms in summer. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the condition of your spine, by any chance?

One study showed no correlation between weather patterns and the average pain level of a large group of arthritis sufferers (although my late grandfather would disagree…) So there is no hard evidence to support the air pressure theory above.

If you think the weather is affecting your joints, then you should work on the condition of your spine – do some exercise, use heat or ice, do some relaxation exercises or see your physio. Concentrate on the things that you CAN change, rather than worrying about things that you can’t affect, such as the weather.