Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of “We should be getting a storm soon, I can feel it in my bones”? While most of us pass these expressions off as little more than old wives tales, there is actually some truth behind this particular idiom.
Many people attribute the joint pain they feel when a storm approaches to the damp weather that arrives just before a storm, but it actually has nothing to do with cold, wet, or windy weather; while there’s dissent among the scientific community over what causes the pain, it’s likely caused by the changing barometric pressure.
When a storm is imminent, there is often a drop in barometric (atmospheric) pressure, and as the pressure around you drops, the pressure being exerted on your body drops as well. For people who are suffering from joint pain, this means that there is suddenly less pressure against these joints which could contribute to increased levels of pain.
A survey conducted by researchers at Tufts-New England Medical Center looked at 200 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees and the link between their knee pain and changes in atmospheric pressure. They came to the conclusion that both changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature can lead to an increase in their knee pain.
While joint pain can be impacted by a change in the weather, joints aren’t the only thing that is affected by the changing weather either — as it turns out, the weather can impact your health in ways you may never have considered.
Not surprisingly, the changing pressure just before a storm can also affect our blood pressure. Since the pressure outside is dropping, the pressure system within our bodies drops as well, which can lead to dizziness and fatigue.
Headaches & Migraines
Changes in weather can also cause headaches and exacerbate migraines for those who experience them as well, once again due to the changes in pressure in the atmosphere. Our skulls are full of sinus cavities that help warm the air as it enters our bodies; when the sinuses are blocked or congested, any change in barometric pressure can cause a pressure difference between your sinuses and the atmosphere which leads to headaches and migraines.
Those who are diabetic and are managing their diabetes with an insulin pump will find that they have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar while a cold front is imminent, bringing with it changes to the barometric pressure. As the pressure in the atmosphere changes, so will the viscosity (thickness) of your blood which makes stabilizing blood sugar a challenge. Changes in pressure can also cause air bubbles to form within the insulin pump which can interfere with the amount of insulin being delivered.