Is There a Best Climate for Living with Arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Living with joint pain can be difficult, but there are ways to help mitigate your symptoms. For example, the climate where you live might be making your arthritis pain worse.
Researchers have yet to determine how or why weather affects arthritis. It’s possible that living in a warmer, drier environment could help reduce symptoms. Picking up everything you own and moving to another state isn't exactly practical nor is it doctor recommended. However, it could help clarify the role weather plays in managing chronic pain.
Continue reading to find out more about the link between weather and joint pain along with the best places for living with arthritis.
Arthritis & Weather
Researchers studying the relationship between arthritis and weather changes have yet to answer why weather makes joint pain feel worse. Multiple studies suggest that people with arthritis feel increased pain or stiffness with sudden changes in temperature and higher humidity.
In 2014 Dutch study, researchers analyzed 222 individuals with osteoarthritis hip pain. Over two years, results showed participants reported slightly worse pain with rising barometric pressure and humidity.
A 2015 study by The European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) looked at 800 adults with osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and hand from six European countries. Participants cited worse joint pain and stiffness with higher humidity, most notably in colder weather.
Climate Factors that May Affect Joint Pain
Weather influences several health conditions including migraine headaches, asthma, allergies, and possibly arthritis. The best climate for arthritis may depend on a variety of environmental factors rather than just one. This includes:
- Temperature: As temperatures drop, it’s common for people with arthritis to have increased pain. This could be due to the thickening of synovial fluid, a natural lubricant in the body that helps keep joints mobile. As the fluid thickens, your joints may feel stiffer.
- Humidity: Humid conditions are generally uncomfortable. Cold and humid weather may lead to increased feelings of joint pain.
- Barometric Pressure: Fluctuations in air pressure may cause the bones, tendons, and muscles in our bodies to expand and contract, resulting in greater tension in your joints.
- Sunshine: Sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D, which can improve bone health and prevent bone density loss. It also helps raise serotonin levels in the brain, boosting our mood and promoting better sleep – both of which help when managing chronic pain.
- Accessibility: Arthritis pain can make it hard to move around. Living somewhere with good public transportation, accessible housing, and programs for people with disabilities or chronic pain could help.
- Affordable Care: High-quality, affordable health care is essential for people with chronic pain. The best places to live with arthritis have quality facilities specializing in rheumatic diseases.
What Kind of Weather Makes Arthritis Worse?
Extreme fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and air pressure can make arthritis pain feel worse. Areas that have more predictable weather forecasts could prove more suitable for people living with joint pain.
Is Cold Weather Bad for Arthritis?
Cold weather is not necessarily bad for arthritis, but it may contribute to increased stiffness in the joints as temperatures drop. Thankfully, there are ways you can combat cold weather aches and pains.
Does Living in a Warm Climate Help Arthritis?
Regions with warmer temps and lower humidity, such as desert climates, are a more comfortable option for people with joint pain. Plus, these areas tend to have more predictable weather and frequent sunshine.
Best States to Live in with Arthritis
Natural pain relief is about more than effective, natural ingredients. For most, it also means making changes in your lifestyle to reduce stress and encourage healthier habits. People with chronic pain might consider moving to a state with more ideal weather conditions.
Based on factors like warmer temperatures, low humidity, and quality care, these are some of the seven best places to live with arthritis:
California – San Diego, San Francisco & Palm Springs
Southern regions of California have consistently warm weather and relatively low humidity. Plus, the state ranks well on the Rheumatic Disease Report Card for states with good access to care. In larger cities, you also have public transport and plenty of activities to do.
Hawaii - Kaui
For some people, living on an island is a dream, but extended vacations work, too. Hawaii’s less humid regions have warm, sunny weather and decent access to quality healthcare.
Utah – Salt Lake City
If humidity seems to be the source of your increased joint pain, consider the low humidity levels in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both in winter and summer, the region has low humidity and plenty of activities you can do to relieve stress and joint pain.
Arizona – Yuma & Phoenix
One of the sunniest states in American, Arizona offers plenty of sunshine and minimal humidity. While the state is near perfect for getting all the Vitamin D from sunlight you need, the temperatures may be too hot to bare in some areas.
Colorado – Grand Junction & Denver
Colorado’s southern and plains regions have a drier, warmer climate than the mountainous areas. You can also find expert care for chronic pain conditions.
Virginia – Fairfax County
Virginia is a good halfway point between the cold, northern states and warm, humid south. Plus, the state is home to many good healthcare facilities for those who need specialized care.
Maryland - Baltimore
Maryland is an excellent state for living with arthritis if you want the best access to quality healthcare. The state is home to one of the highest-ranking hospitals for adult rheumatology.
Relief for Arthritis Pain
While changing where you live may not be an immediate option, you can still take steps to mitigate joint pain and live more comfortably. Doctor Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief Gel uses effective, natural ingredients to relieve aches and pains from arthritis and other conditions, with 92% of users saying it was the most effective topical pain relief gel they’ve tried.
Aikman H. The association between arthritis and the weather. Int J Biometeorol 1997;40(4):192–9. Doi: 10.1007/S004840050041.
Cui Y., Gong Q., Huang C., et al. The relationship between sunlight exposure duration and depressive symptoms: A cross-sectional study on elderly Chinese women. PLoS One 2021;16(7). Doi: 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0254856.
Kent ST., McClure LA., Crosson WL., Arnett DK., Wadley VG., Sathiakumar N. Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study. Environmental Health 2009;8(1):34. Doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-34.
MD, R. H. S. (2015, November 20). Can the weather really worsen arthritis pain? Harvard Health.
American College of Rheumatology. Rheumatoid Disease Report Card.
Dorleijn DM, Luijsterburg PA, Burdorf A, Rozendaal RM, Verhaar JA, Bos PK, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Associations between weather conditions and clinical symptoms in patients with hip osteoarthritis: a 2-year cohort study. Pain. 2014 Apr;155(4):808-13. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.01.018
van Schoor, N.M., Zambon, S., Castell, M.V. et al. Impact of clinical osteoarthritis of the hip, knee and hand on self-rated health in six European countries: the European Project on OSteoArthritis. Qual Life Res 25, 1423–1432 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-015-1171-8