May 21, 2021

Influence of Seasonal Changes on Osteoarthritis

Posted By: Candice Groves
Osteoarthritis Tips

Feeling under the weather? This old saying may very well be relevant to people with musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis. As we transition from the cooler to the warmer seasons, many might question the influence of seasonal changes on arthritis. This article explores this often overlooked symptom enhancer, covering what you need to know about arthritis and the weather.


Can The Weather Affect Arthritis?

Research reveals weather can worsen symptoms and increase pain for those with rheumatic diseases. One study reported over 75% of the participating rheumatic patients believed their pain was in some way influenced by various weather conditions. The temperature and atmospheric pressure on arthritis can cause expansion and contraction of the tendons, muscles, bones, and scar tissue. As a result, people with musculoskeletal conditions can experience inflammation, stiffness, and heightened pain perception.


What Weather Conditions Impact Arthritis?

A study conducted in Japan investigated how arthritis symptoms are affected by seasonal change, finding 63% of patients recognizing moderate and high disease activity during spring and winter. It appears that the susceptibility of deterioration for those with arthritis during the colder months is due to a higher chance of muscle spasm and a decrease in blood circulation. Another study determined that patients’ pain became severe when humidity suddenly increased, air temperature sharply decreased, and during misty and rainy conditions.

Weather Conditions

Vitamin D deficiency during the cold months could be a contributing factor in the development of seasonal symptoms. To absorb vitamin D naturally, our skin must be exposed to sunlight. This is easy for people to achieve during the warmer months of summer and fall when the sky stays light for longer and we tend to spend more time outdoors. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, which is essential for strengthening bones. It also aids immune functioning and can alleviate inflammation. Osteoarthritis Initiative researchers have found that supplementing vitamin D was associated with significantly lower chances of joint structure degeneration for patients with osteoarthritis.


How to Manage Arthritis Seasonally

When it comes to finding ways to intervene in the effects of seasonal changes and meteorological factors for arthritis, it is always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional like an arthritis self-management program coach such as MyArthritisRx. Below are a few ways you can look after yourself during the cooler months to reduce flare risk and disease progression.


  • Enhances the immune system
  • Helps manage blood sugar levels
  • Aids concentration and memory
  • Facilitates hormone regulation
  • Reduces risk of diseases including the flu, cancer, and depression

Aside from getting regular sunlight on your skin (always wear sun protection), you can also absorb vitamin D through foods like salmon, mushrooms, dairy and soy milk, oranges, pork, and eggs.


  Manage Arthritis Seasonally


  • Wear Weather Appropriate Clothing

Keep your body warm during the cold months and layer breathable, comfortable, and cosy clothing like long socks, gloves, beanies, pants, sweaters, and coats. This way, you avoid the impact of temperature and atmospheric pressure on your joints.


Weather Appropriate Clothing


  • Keep Physically Active

On cold or rainy days, it can be difficult finding the motivation to exercise. However, self-management of your osteoarthritis includes consistent exercise to strengthen your joint areas and prevent inflammation and stiffness. Walking around your home or using a stationary bike or treadmill are great ways to keep cosy indoors and avoid the harsh weather. If you want to get some fresh air though, wearing loose-fitting weather-appropriate attire when venturing outside for a walk or bicycle ride will enable you to feel comfortable while getting your daily dose of mobility.



Keep Physically Active


  • Consider a Personalized Self-Management Program

Self-management programs such as the MyArthritis 6-week plan provides patients with effective and simple home care for arthritis. Getting one-on-one support from a dedicated arthritis coach means you can get your questions answered by professionals, allowing you to take control of your arthritis and get the most out of your life.


Personalized Self-Management Program


Final Thoughts

You mightn’t be able to dictate the weather, but you can make simple adjustments to your lifestyle to brace the colder months and prevent the symptoms associated with seasonal change. By ensuring you are keeping your body at a suitable temperature, getting adequate vitamin D intake, keeping active, and following your personalized self-management program, you can mitigate joint deterioration and feel good year-round.

Stay Active

Enjoy your daily activities knowing you are in control of your arthritis

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