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Mount Sinai: Cold Air, Pressure Changes May Be Culprit for Migraines and Joint Pain

The weather may exacerbate medical conditions, including migraines and joint pain, doctors from the Mount Sinai Health System in New York said.

The impacts can range from knowing when it will rain or snow because of painful joints or having cold air trigger migraines.

"Weather can certainly cause joints, typically osteoarthritic joints, as well as old injuries to ache or hurt," Dr. Johnny Arnouk, orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, said.

"I have seen several patients of mine whom I had not seen in months or years return over the past month with an aggravated knee or shoulder. They would state that the knee had just ‘started acting up again,'" Arnouk added.

Barometric pressure drops have also been associated with medical problems.

"This drop can lead to less pressure against our bodies, allowing tissues to expand. Inflamed joints, often seen in osteoarthritis, swell. Some believe that this puts pressure on our joints and can cause pain," Arnouk said.

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, the National Headache Foundation said. The headaches can be debilitating, affecting everyday activities.

"Very cold weather can be a trigger. If someone comes in from the cold, that can also be a trigger. Significant heat, often accompanied by dehydration, can be a trigger as well," Dr. Mark Green, director of the Mount Sinai Center for Headache and Pain Medicine, said.

AccuWeather has an index for migraines among its indices to help alert sufferers of potential migraine days. The migraine index is one of over dozens of indices created by AccuWeather to provide information on how weather affects people's lives.

"Among the factors that are considered are the current atmospheric pressure and temperature and how they are changing, along with winds and humidity," AccuWeather Senior Vice President Mike Steinberg said.