Friday, August 15, 2014

Barometrically challenged...

Yesterday there was a discussion about weather and Psoriatic Arthritis in one of the PsA groups I am part of.  Many of us run into doctors that insist that there is no connection to arthritis, pain and weather, but talking with people with different types of arthritis including immune and osteo arthritis there seems to be something to it.  I went to search for reasons why this might happen.  I remember stumbling on a Dr Oz episode that he talked about it using a balloon to describe how the pressure changes the equalization in the joints (and many of you know I DESPISE Dr Oz), but now I can't seem to find it.  I did however find this Dr Oz post which talks about the effects of weather on many parts of the body and this is what he had to say about joints

 "How air pressure affects your joints Our joints actually depend upon the outside air pressure to keep them in place. During storm fronts, when the external pressure drops, it allows the joints to loosen, which can cause pain, especially if you are using them a lot. If you notice that your body tells you wet weather is coming, talk with your doctor about how to be proactive and ease the pain before it can slow you down."

I'm not sure how talking to my Dr who thinks weather pain is in my head is going to help, but thanks Dr. Oz.

Arthritis today has a weather index tool to help you determine if it's going to be a bad arthritis day (you know in case your arthritis hasn't already told you so), but they seem to be clueless to the reason for this phenomenon as well.

WebMD the site I love to hate (you all know what I'm talking about because you too have decided you have ebola because of WebMD at some point) says that great aunt Mabel may not be your most accurate meteorologist (even if she is always right) because there is no SCIENTIFIC proof behind the joint/weather connection.  And by the way this pisses me off too because I'm no one's great aunt Mabel yet.  What about us youngsters??  My 17 year old niece can predict the weather too dammit.

Finally the University of South Carolina came up with a plausible explanation.  The article does begin by insinuating that we human barometers are "eccentric" (could they mean crazy?) they do go on to say "Suppose you have an inflamed joint that is subject to swelling," said Fant. "If the barometric pressure is decreased, then that would allow the inflamed tissue to swell more, simply because there is less atmospheric pressure holding the tissue back. If there are nerves in that tissue, then those nerves would be stimulated by that swelling and that would translate into pain."

At the end of the day it sounds like most medical and scientific types think that we are a bit off in believing that we can predict bad weather, but their reason for feeling that way is they simply can't explain it.  Many aren't denying that the frequency of occurrence of arthritic patients experiencing increased discomfort due to changes in barometric pressure (usually when it is falling), but since they don't know why it can't be true.

I could go on a soap box rant about all the mysteries of the universe that are unexplained yet true, but I will refrain.  For now my barometrically challenged joints are going to praise all that is good in the universe because the Valley of the Sun is expecting a dry spell for a few days and I might actually get some relief.  Here's to stable weather for a couple days!  YEAH!  Only a few more weeks of monsoon season and my love of Phoenix will return.