Sensing Storms: Doctor discusses how turbulent temperature swings possibly impact joint pain

Sensing Storms: Doctor discusses how turbulent temperature swings possibly impact joint pain

SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The dramatic daily temperature swings this season can cause us all to swing between the jackets and t-shirts.

For some, however, the impact goes beyond clothing choices.

As the fall forecast becomes more turbulent with major ups and downs, it also becomes a painful roller coaster ride for those with bone and joint pain.

"There's always a degree of pain on a daily basis, but with the weather, it'll quadruple that pain," Karen Menn, a retired family doctor in Surfside Beach who battles osteoarthritis, said.

Menn, for one, feels her condition is made worse by the ever-changing weather.

The impacts of weather on bone and joint pain are a common discussion Tidelands Health Doctor Dan Single, an orthopedic surgeon who has not treated Menn, has with his own patients.

"I've had people come in for years and tell me they can tell when it's going to rain or if it gets cold out that their joints ache," Single said. "Again, the data seems to suggest that it could be a change in the barometric pressure."

Low pressure weather systems bring in temperature drops and a rise in chances for rainy and damp days. It's a weather phenomenon Menn's body can sense coming well in advance.

"A quick drop in the temperature for sure, but the big one is the rain coming in and the barometer dropping. I mean, you just feel like a human barometer some days, and usually it's the day before, you know when rain is coming, even if it's not predicted. My body is telling me that it's coming," Menn said.

While Single mentions the science isn't completely clear on the exact source of the pain, he can relate to it firsthand.

"About 11 months ago, I fell and fractured my hip and had to have surgery and was doing well up until July or August, where I felt fine," he said. "And then after Irma came through and the pressure started dropping and it started getting colder, I started waking up at night with aches and pains. It fluctuates. Some days I'll walk in here and feel fine, and others, I'm limping."

There are some methods to try and alleviate the pain.

"Usually we just advise them, hey, if you have access to a pool or a hot tub, get in it, or put on a Neoprene sleeve, or wrap yourself up in some layers and keep the joint warm," Single said. "Usually that is a big benefit. If you can keep a joint warm, it brings blood to the area and seems to make people feel better."

He added that being active can help get the blood flowing. Menn fights through her pain with fitness.

"It gets difficult some days. I try to exercise at least five days a week because it does keep you more limber, even though there are days you think like this is the last thing you want to do," she said. "But after you do it, you do feel better."

Overall, Menn's outlook on her joint pain is positive.

"There are worse things in the world. It's not terminal, I'm not terminal with it and I just try to deal with it day by day," she said.

Single said studies suggest your body is always going to adapt to its climate. This means moving from a colder climate like the Northeast to warmer weather here in Myrtle Beach won't be a permanent solution to any aches or pains caused by weather.

For a link to the orthopedic specialists with Tidelands Health, click here.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.