Low Humidity and Arthritis

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 52 million adults in the U.S. have some type of arthritis. While there are many different forms of arthritis, they are all share one common characteristic: inflammation of the joints. As the joints begin to swell, it can lead to pain, discomfort and limited mobility, restricting the individual’s normal range of motion.

It’s not uncommon for people with arthritis to experience “flareups” when exposed to exceptionally dry air. When the humidity drops – whether it’s indoors or outdoors – the individual may experience swelling and pain in his or her joints. This has prompted many arthritis sufferers to pay close attention to their local weather forecast, as doing so allows them to better manage their condition.

So, how can low humidity impact arthritis? Humidity is defined as the total amount of moisture vapor in the air. When the humidity is low, there’s minimal moisture vapor in the air; thus, the air is said to be dry. Consequently, dry air has a higher barometric pressure due. And conventional wisdom should tell you that pressure on the joints causes further pain and discomfort. So it’s not necessarily the dry air that’s to blame for your arthritis flareups, but rather the increased barometric pressure associated with it.

You have to remember that the pain and discomfort of arthritis is caused by pressure on the joints. When the joints become inflamed, there’s greater pressure inside. These symptoms are magnified when the joints are exposed to dry air simply because the dry air has a greater barometric pressure that moist/humid air.

Here are some other tips for dealing with arthritis:


  • Talk with your doctor about the different supplements available to protect your joints. Glucosamine and chondritin are two powerful joint-protecting nutrients that are readily available in supplement form.
  • Apply a hot/cold compress to the affected joints. Doing so will send blood away from the joints, reducing pain and inflammation.
  • Exercising for just 30 minutes per day will have a positive impact on your arthritis symptoms.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may relieve the swelling associated with arthritis.
  • Use a humidifier in your home and workplace to increase the humidity and reduce the barometric pressure.

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