Humidity and the impacts for back pain, joint pain, arthritis sufferers

While humidity in itself can be uncomfortable, it can be even worse for those with back pain, joint pain and arthritis.


You may be pleased to hear that it’s not just your imagination if you suffer increased joint pain or back pain on humid days and nights. It might actually surprise you to learn just how much the weather can affect our bodies.

We often see weather-related joint pain reported by patients with arthritic conditions and joint pain here at Central Coast Osteopath. You see, joints contain sensory nerves called baroreceptors which respond to changes in atmospheric pressure. These receptors are very sensitive to low barometric pressure, which is when the atmosphere has gone from dry to moist (humid).

Humid conditions cause our tendons, ligaments, and muscles to expand.

These baroreceptors in our body respond, helping the central nervous system to regulate the resistance of blood vessels and the heart’s contractions. The problem for those who already have muscle or joint pain, expansion in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can irritate the already-sensitive areas.

For example, arthritic joints have less cushioning making them more sensitive to these pressure changes. If you’re feeling a little achy in humid weather, take it easy and don’t push yourself!

Be careful of dehydration if you suffer from joint pain, back pain or arthritis in hot humid weather

In high humidity and heat, it can cause our blood to thicken which places increased pressure on blood vessels, forcing the heart to work harder.  This is because we are losing more fluid through sweating from increased body temperature. Our bodies sweat because when it evaporates off our skin it cools us down. When it is humid (meaning a lot of moisture is being carried in the air), it is more difficult for the sweat to evaporate (because the air is already full of moisture) and in-turn it’s unable to cool us down.

So, if our bodies are not being cooled down from sweating, we continue to sweat. This can eventually lead to our bodies being depleted of fluid – dehydration.

Joint cartilage and the discs in our spine have high water content, and dehydration can decrease the concentration of fluid, agitating any arthritis that may be present.

Ensure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and evening to avoid dehydration and extra sensitivity within your joints.

Help reduce the effects of humidity

Firstly, drink lots of water! It’s important to keep your body hydrated. Secondly, movement is important for back pain and joint pain. We don’t want joints, muscles and ligaments to become stiff because this will increase your pain.

Regular visits to your local Osteopath and remedial massage therapist can assist. Osteopathy and deep tissue massage will help to keep muscles, ligaments and joints supple and able to move. Our Osteopath, Shane Caulfield also advises our patients with tailored exercise and maintenance plans to help our acute and chronic pain sufferers.

In hot humid conditions, why not take advantage of swimming? It can be a great form of therapy for joint pain and back pain. Besides getting some relief from the heat – it is low impact and a great way to keep moving.

We welcome your enquiries about helping you to get through this humid Summer without too much extra pain! Call Shane from Central Coast Osteopath.