Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

About those aches & pains February 22, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a photo of an x-ray of my broken right shoulder in 2017. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo May 2017)

IF MY MOM WAS STILL LIVING, I’d apologize. I’d apologize for dismissing her connections between weather and an aching body. I laughed off that cause-and-effect as one of those ideas passed from generation to generation. More myth than truth. But I’m not laughing any more.

As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed an interplay between changes in weather and how I feel physically. Right now my body is hurting. A lot. I attribute that partially (mostly) to the winter storm. Anytime a storm is approaching, upon us and/or the weather turns bitterly cold, I experience more pain.

I’ve read that fluctuations in barometric pressure (lower in the winter) specifically affect joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Without completely going down the rabbit hole of self-diagnosis, that generality seems to apply to me.

I should provide some backstory here. I have an artificial right hip, implanted in 2008 after I developed osteoarthritis so severe I could barely walk or tolerate the pain. Because I was youngish, I was advised to hold off on surgery as long as possible. Much of the pain I experience now centers on the right implant side of my body and in my lower back. My back is plagued by osteoarthritis and scoliosis. As Randy has noted, my body is crooked and I can visually see and feel that.

Look on the right side of my wrist to see the plate, shaped like an ice scraper. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo 2018)

Bear with me. I also have an implant in my left wrist, the result of a 2018 fall which shattered my wrist. Ten screws hold that wrist plate in place. When the weather changes, I notice discomfort in my wrist. Likewise in my right shoulder. I broke that in 2017 after missing the last step on a hospital stairway while on my way to donate blood.

This is a photo snapped with a cellphone of the implant in my wrist, held in place by 10 screws. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo 2018)

What is my point in sharing all of this? Not to garner sympathy or give the impression of woe-is-Audrey. Rather, I’m interested in learning whether you notice, like me, a connection between weather and body. I recognize this question may be more applicable to those of you who are aging Baby Boomers.

So let’s hear. Share your personal stories and your insights and perhaps we can reach an unscientific conclusion. Was my mom right? Is there a connection between weather and an aching body?

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


19 Responses to “About those aches & pains”

  1. beth Says:

    after reading about all you’re enduring, Audrey, I feel guilty grousing about my minor aches and stiffness, but I think you’re right. there certainly seems to be a correlation. as you know, we’re about to be hit with bad weather as well, and my hands and body are visibly aching more than usual as I wake up. someone at work told me it has to do with the change in barometric pressure, which comes with every weather change. she also told me to notice children’s behavior and emotional swings with the changes, as it seems to be more extreme during these times as well, (as opposed to the full moon theory), and I’ve noticed it to be true. stay safe through the storm and hope you feel better. most schools are closed today and we are preparing for the ice storm beginning at noon.

  2. I can attest to the barometric pressure here – when Hurricane Ian was rolling in – our bodies just ached and felt muzzy in the head too. Just a suggestion – my massage therapist turned me on to it – try a spray bottle of magnesium oil – spray it on and rub it in (like a mini massage). I know for me and my body it works. I do the massager in the shower too but that can be drying to the skin certain times of the year. I also believe in compression wear, especially when road tripping or flying or even just being active for hours on the weekends. Wishing you the BEST – take care – stay warm 🙂

  3. You are the Bionic Woman! 🙂 I don’t notice a difference, unless it’s brutally cold, then I hurt more.

  4. Norma Says:

    Audrey, my right hip is also a pain in the you know what. I too have Xrays of my back that one doctor has told me, are a mess!! These are due to falls, osteoarthritis, so on, and so forth. As a result, my right leg is a little bit shorter than my left. I have arthritis in my hands and toes. My balance is waaay off. But other than that, I’m in perfect health. Oh, I also have a pacemaker. I don’t know if the weather is a contributor of my pain, or just because I’m still alive. Anyway, I can relate, and sympathize with you. God Bless you Audrey.

    • Well, Norma, you make me laugh about whether the weather contributes to your pain or the fact that you’re still alive. I’m thankful you are still very much alive. What a wonderful sense of humor you have. I’m sorry you are experiencing pain in your hip and elsewhere. Like you, I am part of the club with one leg longer than the other. God bless you, too!

  5. Audrey, that is a great deal of extra metal, not surprising that weather changes seem to aggravate your body.
    As for your question, yes, weather systems affect my old injuries days before the system actually shows up. When I get the feeling I check the weather and some low system is within days of the Dutch shores.

  6. Valerie Says:

    My left foot was broken once, and years later broken…but only a hairline fracture (when the horse kicked me!)
    Fortunately, I do not notice any aches when the weather changes.

  7. Michelle Says:

    I have a birth defect called congenital hip dislocation, plus damage to both due to a childhood disease. They ache when the weather changes suddenly. Ditto my arthritis. It’s not necessarily the cold or the damp for me, just the quick change from what was.

    • I’m sorry to hear you are dealing with multiple health issues. It takes a lot of strength to manage, I’m sure. Maybe you’re right about the sudden change in weather being the catalyst for aches because I felt great yesterday in the midst of the storm. But the days prior I experienced significant pain.

  8. Jaaberg Says:

    Your mom might be on to something. I also broke my right shoulder a little over ten years ago, and it’s been acting up the last several days. I hadn’t considered it, but we’ve also had really cold weather (for us in San Francisco anyway), rain (thankfully), thunderstorms (I miss those), and even a bit of snow just across the bay in the Berkeley hills. So, maybe I’ll just see if the shoulder pain goes away soon when the weather warms up. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait longer for spring, but it’ll be there!

    • I heard the same report from Norma in Bakersfield, CA., earlier today about the cold and rain (and some snow). She expressed the same gratitude as you for the moisture. I hope your shoulder discomfort eases or disappears soon. Based on readers’ comments, there seems to be a correlation between weather changes and aches and pains. That confirms what my mom was trying to tell me for years. Sorry, Mom, that I didn’t believe you then.

  9. I think there is some truth to what your mom had to say, as I’ve heard it many times from those with aging bodies, especially arthritis. I have not noticed this phenomena in my own body as I feel it aches all the time, not just with weather changes, haha. I have 2 places with screws, but no plates. I’m sorry to hear you are hurting…no fun for you. 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.