Does Cold Weather Directly Affect Arthritis? Many people who suffer from various forms of arthritis feel that there is a strong connection between weather conditions and their arthritis. People specifically describe a causal relationship in which cold weather systems worsen their arthritis pain. It is common to hear people suggest that they can predict the onset of rain storms and incoming cold fronts based on an increase in their arthritis pain shortly before the weather event.

What Does the Research Indicate? The scientific research surrounding this hypothesis has been largely in-conclusive. Some test results indicate a possible correlation and other studies do not  produce sufficient evidence to make any conclusive claims. Many physicians and scientists recommend avoiding direct exposure to extreme cold weather and suggest that patients keep their joints warm when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a cautionary measure and does not mean that physicians endorse the beliefs of some arthritis patients. Many doctors prescribe treatments and medications based on patient’s self-reported symptoms. If arthritis patients describe worsening conditions doctors will likely respond with increased treatments.

 

Conclusion Regardless of patient’s complaints, it is clear that cold weather conditions cannot worsen existing arthritic conditions because weather has never been found to damage human cartilage. It is possible that cold weather aggravates already weakened arthritic joints. Patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in which the body’s immune system creates antibodies that attack the cartilage in the person’s joints should not be confused with rheumatism which describes pain symptoms related to weather and/or aging. In conclusion, the most plausible idea is that colder weather causes minor increases in arthritic pain symptoms, but has no effect on the condition of the disease.