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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Is the A/C Making Your Arthritis Pain Worse?

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition in which the one or more joints in your body gets inflamed.

There are two types of arthritis:

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune condition and is triggered by genetics.

  2. Osteoarthritis: A condition where the articular cartilage gets destroyed but is triggered by physical factors and old age.

This condition causes destruction of the bone cartilages, joint fluid, and loss of bone mass due to friction.

This is followed by excruciating pain and lots of discomforts. However, living with arthritis doesn’t always have to be painful as there are many ways to prevent, improve, or manage the pain felt by the patient.

Air conditioning is one of the many factors that have clinical relevance to arthritis pain.

Joint pain

Joint pain Image Credit: needpix

Effects of Air Conditioning on Arthritis Pain

Arthritis pain can be increased in any condition of extreme temperatures. This means that a cold chilly region will have the same dramatic effects on arthritis pain as a hot summer day.

In addition to that, the pain can also significantly increase if one goes from an extreme weather condition to the other, like entering a cold air-conditioned room after you have been out in the afternoon sun.

Thus, this is why air conditioners could greatly affect patients suffering from arthritis.

1. Negative Effects

Air conditioners are one of the major factors that contribute to increased joint pain in both types of Arthritis. This unnatural and extreme temperature in interiors can increase barometric pressure which will assist in further deterioration of the joint and synovial meniscus.

Thus, the gap separating the two bones at the joint decreases  and the person will feel more pain due to the damage of bones by friction and pressing of nerves.

Moreover, it is a fact that warm humid conditions are known to relieve joint pain. Air conditioners effectively decrease the humidity levels in the room and blow dry air. As a result in decreased humidity, patients tend to feel more pain, especially the ones suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

This is why people suffering from arthritis feel very uncomfortable sitting in cold rooms or on long car rides with air conditioning.

Continuous use of air conditioning could also increase the toxicity in the room and could make the person prone to airborne infections or other immune diseases and cause restless sleep and increase climate sensitivity. These complications could result in joint deterioration and increased pain as a side effect.

Lastly, in general, extremely low temperatures can cause muscle contractions and aches which could result in joint and muscle pain over time by increasing stiffness and swelling.

female knees

Extreme conditions are bad are arthritis pain, Image Credit: libre shot

2. Positive Effects

Although extreme cold conditions cause the most damage to arthritis pain, one must not disregard the harmful effects of an arthritis patient who is surrounded by extremely high temperatures.

Extreme conditions of temperature and humidity levels on their end of the scale can cause damage.

Thus, air conditioners could be used to obtain a moderate temperature in your interior for the benefit of arthritis patients as long as it is done in moderation in areas where it is extremely hot.


Arthritis is not caused by temperature but the pain experienced by arthritis patients can be controlled by moderate conditions of temperature and humidity.

With that being said, there is no foolproof condition that can make a person ” symptom-free or pain- free” from arthritis, it will only help improve the pain.

Extreme climates are one of the major factors that increase arthritis pain, thus air conditioners utilized to obtain extremely low temperatures indoors, are bad for the patients but could be used as a moderator when it’s too hot outside to obtain a reasonable and comfortable temperature.

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