Humidity & Leg Pain

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There are few scientific studies that show the correlation between humid weather conditions and leg pain. However, there is some evidence to show that humidity can directly affect the onset of swollen joints and cause dehydration to the body, which in turn can result in leg aches, pains and cramping.

Causes of Leg Pain

  • Leg pain is caused by a variety of reasons. Obviously, if the leg has been traumatized by a fracture, sprain or break this can cause pain as the leg begins to heal. Other causes include blood clots in the leg, inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down the length of the leg, arthritis, muscle pain or myalgia, diabetes and muscle cramps often caused by dehydration.

Significance

  • High humidity can result in the dehydration of the body. According to author and meteorologist Keith C. Heidorn, Ph.D., also known as The Weather Doctor, (www.islandnet.com) dehydration causes the blood to thicken and strains the heart and blood vessels by requiring more pressure to pump the blood throughout the body. When the body gets overheated, as it does in conditions of high humidity, this can cause additional cramping and aching in leg muscles and joints. The Weather Doctor also explains that the effects of humidity on the body and the severity of disorders caused by humidity increase with age.

Effects Of Humidity

  • According to Dr. John Parenti, director of the Orthopedics Department at the Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania, leg pain caused by humidity has to do with the effect of barometric pressure on the joints. He explains that our joints have receptors that can sense pressure changes and achy joints may be directly associated with those changes. Excessive humidity can cause the veins in our legs to enlarge, resulting in increased achiness and pain. However, Parenti acknowledges that there is no formal research to qualify this idea. However, he says knows many patients who feel a direct correlation between weather, humidity and leg pain.

Prevention

  • There are several home remedies you can use to minimize leg pain. Leg cramping often seems to happen during sleep. These suggestions can help prevent this pain during the nighttime hours:
    Before going to sleep, drink a glass of warm milk. Adding honey or sugar to the milk is an additional measure to help prevent cramping.
    Drinking herbal tea, such as chamomile, can help relax and soothe the muscles in the leg and help ease the ache.
    Taking a hot shower or soaking the legs in a hot bath can help ease and/or prevent leg cramping.
    Add foods to your diet that are rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. Bananas, which are rich in potassium, should be eaten two or three times per day.
    Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep the body hydrated.
    Massage the legs regularly in order to facilitate blood flow and circulation.

Considerations

  • According to Cade McDonald, creator of achooallergy.com, staying indoors during particularly high humidity levels is recommended. Additionally, McDonald suggests using a dehumidifier inside the home to reduce moisture levels. This may help to reduce the onset of leg pain and cramping.

References

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