Does heat and humidity make joint pain worse?

Does heat and humidity make joint pain worse?

As we head into the Arizona monsoon season, you may be finding you have more trouble with joint pain.

Many people with arthritis find they have more stiffness and pain as the humidity rises and barometric pressure drops—as can happen before a monsoon storm. This may be because changes in temperature and humidity change the level of fluid in our joints.

In addition, the extreme Arizona heat alone can aggravate pain, simply by placing more stress on the body and making us more irritable and sensitive to discomfort.

Becoming dehydrated, which can happen quickly in the heat, can make things even worse because our joints need fluid to move smoothly.

What can you do to stay as comfortable as possible until things cool off? Try these tips.

  • Stay indoors. Spend as much time in air-conditioned buildings as possible so your body doesn’t have to cope with the humidity and heat.
  • Keep moving. You may be tempted to just collapse in front of the TV, but staying active is critical. Exercise helps improve range of motion and improve mood. It can also help you avoid gaining weight, which can cause more joint pain. So don’t let the heat stop you. Go for walks early in the morning before it gets too hot, exercise at an air-conditioned gym, or go for a swim.
  • Drink up. Drink lots of water and other liquids, but avoid too much caffeine and alcohol because they can actually make you dehydrated.
  • Dress cool. Wear loose-fitting, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk that will allow sweat to evaporate from your body, helping keep you cool. 

If you’re struggling with joint pain, the medical professionals at Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists can work with you to get back to enjoying the activities you love.

Arizona Bone and Joint Specialists is located in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, with convenient on-site services including physical therapy and imaging. For more information, make an appointment by calling the Scottsdale office at 602-493-9361 or the Phoenix office at 602-863-2040

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.