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The local weather forecast calls for pain increasing over the next five days and tapering off towards the end of the week. Sound familiar? Many people who have arthritis are very familiar this forecast and know that weather effects pain severity. In fact, many people know what the weather is doing just by how a joint feels. Pain, stiffness and swelling can be as accurate at forecasting the weather as a meteorologist. And those who live in certain climates know exactly how painful some climates can be. What do scientists have to say about this weather phenomenon? Are the rumors true? Does joint pain forecast the weather?
Ouch, it's cold outside. Just looking at temperature, one can easily conclude that low temperatures increase pain not only in a joint, but everywhere. Knee pain, rheumatoid pain, and osteoarthritis pain all show consistent increases in severity has the mercury plunges. The reason for this phenomenon probably has something to do with nerve conduction slowing in t...
We've known for a long time that if you're going to stop taking opioids, it's usually best to taper off gradually to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms. But now, there's another very good reason not to abruptly stop taking opioid medications – it can actually increase your sensitivity to pain. A recent study conducted by the Department of Neurophysiology at the Center for Brain Research at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria has found that the sudden withdrawal of opioids leads to the long-term activation of pain impulses being sent to the brain. It creates a kind of memory trace in the pain system. They knew that sustained pain can set up a cycle of increased pain sensitivity, but the researchers were surprised to discover that the abrupt withdrawal of opioids does something very similar by increasing the concentration of calcium ions in the nerve cells of the spinal cord. On the positive side, the research team also discovered that i...
"My knee feels stiff when I sit for a long time and it hurts to get up. But, after I walk for a few minutes, the pain eases up."
"My hands are stiff in the morning or after I take a nap during the day. After I have been awake for about twenty minutes, the pain is completely gone."
"My lower back is very tight in the morning and it hurts to get out of the bed. I do a few exercises and my back seems to loosen up."
The above are just a few of the comments I hear on an almost daily basis. In osteoarthritis, joints are commonly sore, stiff, and painful after sleep or after resting them for a while. After getting up, the joints "loosen up" as they move around and are used. In the spine, the small facet joints are a common source of arthritis and back pain. The facet joints work as hinge joints similar to the hinges on a door. In a young, non-arthritic person, the joints glide smoothly over one another. However, as the joints become arthritic, they function more as a rusty hi...
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