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In July, we saw temperatures hit a record-breaking 40°c in some parts of the UK. Climate change is having visible effects, and if the world continues to warm, this kind of extreme heat could become commonplace.


While some Brits revelled in the sunshine of the heatwave, those of us living with arthritis may have found it more uncomfortable than enjoyable. But why is this? Can arthritis flare up in hot weather? It appears so.


Hot weather and arthritis


Many people report experiencing a change in their symptoms due to the weather – and this doesn’t just apply to hot weather, but cold and damp weather too. It is unknown why weather affects arthritis pain, but it could be linked to barometric pressure (the pressure caused by the weight of the air above us).


According to the Met Office, high pressure often brings fine, warm weather. However, it can lead to prolonged dry periods and, in severe situations, heat waves. Low pressure, on the other hand, can cause unsettled conditions, including heavy rain, flash floods and storms.


But how does this relate to arthritis pain? It is thought that changes in barometric pressure can alter how tendons, muscles, bones and scar tissues expand and contract, resulting in pain in the tissues that arthritis impacts.


One 2019 study funded by Versus Arthritis assessed how the weather affected more than 13,000 people in the UK with chronic pain conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia. It found that damp and windy days with lower pressure and higher humidity increased the chances of experiencing more pain than normal by around 20%.


The results of another study from 2014, which looked specifically at older people with osteoarthritis, revealed that, among the 496 weather-sensitive participants, 39.2% were sensitive to damp/rainy weather conditions, 30.2% to cold weather and 4.6% to hot weather.


Other factors and theories


On a very hot day or a cold, rainy day, you are less likely to be physically active. This decreased activity can worsen arthritis symptoms. Mood is also believed to have an impact on arthritis pain, and extreme weather can alter our state of mind, making us feel anxious, stressed or depressed. You may also find that in the summer, you are dehydrated and experiencing disturbed sleep due to the heat – both of these things can lead to increased joint pain.


Tips for staying cool in the summer heat


The key to keeping weather-sensitive arthritis pain at bay on a hot summer’s day is to stay cool. If you’re struggling, here are some helpful tips and tricks…










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Why not give our trial pack a go? It contains 3 big and 6 small patches at a discounted rate so you can figure out which works best for you.


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