Summary & Highlights
Generally, you should seek the following types of climate:
1. Warm and Dry Climates: Warm climates with low humidity can help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis by helping to keep the joints more flexible.
2. Mild Climates: Mild climates that provide consistent weather with fewer extreme temperatures can also benefit people with arthritis with fewer flare-ups.
3. Low-Altitude Climates: Lower-altitude climates can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis by reducing the amount of atmospheric pressure on the joints.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, so discussing it with your medical professional before making any major decisions is important.
Living with achy joints from arthritis can be a difficult experience as it affects the quality of your daily life.
Some people with arthritis might even make the drastic decision to move to a better, milder climate to reduce their arthritic pain.
Of course, there are many factors in such a decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
But, if you are considering a major move to manage your daily symptoms, here is some helpful information to help you narrow down your options.
How Does Climate Affect Arthritis Symptoms?
There are so many weather variables that affect arthritic pain levels that we need to start with climate factors and how a different climate might make a noticeable difference in your joint health.
High-humidity climates create a lot of fatigue in arthritis sufferers. The thick, heavy, wet air can be difficult to move around in.
Some studies have shown that those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are significantly affected by high humidity and damp weather, reporting increasing pain and flare-ups in this environment more than any other.
It is also important to point out that you need more than hot summers and high temperatures. The average humidity is a more important factor to consider than just having a warm temperature.
For example, tropical islands closer to the equator will be much warmer, but the increased humidity will offset any benefits from the temperature difference alone.
Low Barometric Pressure
Barometric pressure directly affects our bodies and accentuates arthritis symptoms like pain and fatigue.
When the barometric pressure of our environment drops, it creates tension between the pressure of the air and the pressures that move air and blood through our bodies.
Low atmospheric pressure conflicts with our blood pressure, creating fatigue and drowsiness. It can also create headaches for many people and joint pain.
Why low air pressure makes joints hurt is not entirely clear, but it is a worldwide phenomenon. Some researchers believe that barometric pressure affects the viscosity of the joint fluid.
How does the ambient temperature influence osteoarthritis pain?
Our muscles and joints tend to tighten when exposed to the cold to retain as much body heat as possible. This is why cold days and low temperatures in the winter months can make your muscles and affected joints stiff, even if you don’t have arthritis.
But, for many people with arthritis, the cold weather conditions of the winter season can be entirely unbearable. They might even think that their symptoms are getting worse when it’s just weather changes affecting the stiffness of their joints.
Relief is often found in moving to a place with milder winters because of this. If moving isn’t an option, try a winter getaway just to take a break!
The Ideal – Warm, Dry Climates
Considering all of that information, it’s evident that warm and dry weather is the best for people with arthritis.
People who live in desert climates with sunny and less humid conditions report fewer flare-ups and less pain, including knee pain and hand pain, although it doesn’t cure or reverse the disease altogether.
This relief is probably because warm, dry climates don’t have the humidity, barometric pressure, or cold conditions you need to look out for and because it’s much easier to stay active and maintain proper health in these better-suited climates.
It could also be the extra vitamin D you get in consistently warm weather, which helps improve bone health and longevity.
What Are the Best Climates for Arthritis?
So, where in the world should you go? Here is a brief list of ideas to get you started.
Research areas that complement your unique lifestyle. Are outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and more sun exposure important to you?
Or, maybe all you need is a nice, new home with less snow and more stable weather without the sudden changes that lead to flare-ups.
Arizona is a perfect place for seniors, especially those with arthritis. Many senior living communities in Arizona provide opportunities for activities, socialization, and making new friends.
But even better, Arizona has a warm climate all year round, and humidity is generally low.
There’s also minimal barometric pressure fluctuation, although there is a short rain season in July, where this may change a bit. Still – it’s a huge step up from a cold, rainy, snowy climate.
Just down the road is Tuscon, Arizona, which has a similar climate but a more laid-back vibe. It’s also home to the Arizona Arthritis Center, located at the University of Arizona Medical Center.
San Diego, California
Southern California is also a great location because you can live near the beach and ocean if that’s important.
Other than that, it’s also a location that’s generally warm all year round with steady barometric pressure and little to no humidity, despite its proximity to the ocean.
Enjoy the seas and sand, and de-stress in San Diego.
Another excellent and warm location, a little farther from home, is Sydney, Australia.
It’s warm and dry on the whole continent most of the year, but Sydney, in particular, is great for people with arthritis who like to walk because everything you could need is within walking distance.
So you’ll get a healthy amount of exercise each day, which can help alleviate your symptoms and keep your joints strong.
Sydney also has plenty of entertainment options (Sydney Opera House, anyone?).
Paris is another perfect city for people with arthritis.
Although it’s a bit colder than our other choices, it doesn’t get nearly as cold as other parts of the world, and the temperature fluctuation shouldn’t be enough to worsen your joint symptoms.
They also have food rich in vitamin K, which helps alleviate inflammation in the body and strengthen your bones simultaneously, so it’ll be easy to maintain a diet here that will help with your arthritis symptoms.
A Mediterranean diet is known for being anti-inflammatory and great for alleviating chronic pain.
Greek diets consist of whole grains, fish, olive oil, and fresh fruit and vegetables, giving you the maximum amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins you’ll naturally need if you have arthritis.
Athens is also a beautiful spot rich in history with plenty to explore and just a short ride to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea for the most relaxation and luxury you could want.
Some More Considerations
While these climates sound lovely, some may not be for you.
Wherever you’re thinking of going, take a long but temporary vacation to ensure you can see yourself living, fitting in, and thriving there.
Also, maybe you want to be closer to loved ones. Proximity to the family is one of the most important considerations.
The Arthritis Foundation states that moving away from loved ones at an elderly age to improve health conditions may cause enough stress to offset the benefits of the warmer climate.
Finally, ensure the area you are considering has plenty of rheumatologists available to serve you. Research your medical care options at the American College of Rheumatology website.
Infographic: Best Climates for Arthritis Relief
Summary and Resources
There are many treatments for arthritis pain and discomfort, but changing your environment can be one of the most beneficial pain relief steps for an arthritis sufferer.
What else do you do to alleviate your symptoms?
Have you moved and found somewhere great that’s not listed above? Share below!