Rheumatoid Arthritis is an illness that is hard enough to cope with at the best of times, but when seasons change, the sufferer can experience increased pain. It appears that the change in weather that accompanies autumn turning into winter and winter turning into spring can be more difficult times for RA sufferers while autumn seems to be the easiest season.
Barometric pressure that varies during the seasons can affect joints and cause distress. When barometric pressure is low there will be less pressure in the air to prevent joint swelling. Moist air is lighter than dry air, so rainy seasons are hard on RA sufferers. When it is cold the tissue around joints shrinks and nerves are affected causing pain.
Keeping warm is one of the most important ways to deal with RA, especially in cold and damp weather. Wearing extra layers of clothes and using blankets when sitting around can make a real difference. The warm water used in baths and showers is soothing and gets the blood flowing around joints. The hot water also provides a kind of massage around the joints.
Although it is tempting to stay cosy at home when the weather is bad, it is very important for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to keep moving their joints. Staying active releases endorphins which can help inhibit feelings of pain. If the weather is too unpleasant to go out and get exercise, one can always exercise at home or go swimming or to the gym. Yoga is also a good way to get movement and stretching into the day’s activities. Morning and evening are good times to stretch. Exercise is also very important because it helps to prevent weight gain. Any added weight can put more pressure on joints and cause more suffering.
People in general can suffer feeling low when the weather gets cold and damp and the sun goes away. Getting out as much as possible when the sun is out can lift mood. Taking vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is also a good idea for RA sufferers.
Every victim of RA is different, and knowing what works for each person is so important, because it not only reduces distress but also boosts confidence when a person knows they can help themselves.
Changes in weather can affect RA sufferers in several ways, but there are also many ways that people can help themselves and not give in to seasonal changes. Learning how to take care of oneself is empowering.