For many, the spring season means longer days, comfortable temperatures, and vacation plans. However, for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), thoughts of spring bring something else – the dread of chronic pain.

Symptoms of RA unpredictably flare up during different seasons leading people to feel powerless. Still, there are ways to help manage these symptoms so you can enjoy your favorite activities all season long.

Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Up in the Spring?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes joint inflammation and pain. Many people with RA experience more frequent flare-ups in the spring, which can be very debilitating. 

The exact cause is unknown, but experts believe it may be due to weather changes such as higher temperatures and increased moisture that can irritate the joints and exacerbate symptoms. Also, there are more allergens in the air which can cause an increase in inflammation. 

Does Humidity Make Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse?

Studies show that high humidity can aggravate the severity of arthritis, particularly in those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additionally, barometric pressure may affect joints more than humidity, rainfall, and temperature. Research has found that pain and stiffness are slightly worse with rising barometric pressure and humidity. If possible, try to keep indoor humidity levels between 40-50%

Does A/C Help or Hurt RA Flare-ups?

When it comes to managing rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups, using air conditioning can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, air conditioning can help reduce pain and inflammation by keeping temperatures cool and comfortable. On the other hand, cold air blowing directly on joints can worsen symptoms. 

How Do You Calm an RA Flare-up?

RA flare-ups can be challenging to manage, but there are several things you can do to help calm the symptoms. Resting and avoiding activities that may aggravate your joints is essential. If your symptoms are mild, you may be able to continue with some physical activity that does not place too much strain on your joints. However, for more intense flare-ups, spending time in an environment such as a swimming pool or spa where you can reduce weight-bearing on painful joints can be beneficial. 

Additionally, yoga and tai chi have been used effectively to help reduce pain and inflammation for those with RA. 

You can also take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce inflammation and pain. Heat therapy, such as a warm bath or heating pad, can also help relax tight muscles and ease joint stiffness. 

Finding a Treatment Plan That Works

Creating and sticking to a treatment plan is one of the most critical steps in managing RA flare-ups. At Advanced Rheumatology of Houston, we will customize a plan to fit your individual needs based on your symptoms and lifestyle. It may include medications to reduce inflammation and pain, physical therapy to increase mobility, and heat and cold therapy. 

Managing RA flare-ups is an ongoing process that requires patience and dedication. While medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with RA flare-ups, sticking to a consistent treatment plan is vital. 

With the right approach, individuals living with RA can take back control of their lives and remain active despite their condition.