The 5 Worst U.S. Cities to Live in With Arthritis Symptoms

The 5 Worst U.S. Cities to Live in With Arthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the protective cartilage between bones and joints wears off over time. When this happens, the bones rub on each other, causing symptoms such as pain, stiffness, a grating sensation, tenderness, swelling, and bone spurs. Some osteoarthritis risk factors include older age, obesity, joint injuries, genetics, and bone deformities. Additionally, while the link between arthritis and weather conditions is not clear, people suffer more pain in areas with extreme temperature changes and humidity. 

Research has found that low temperatures make the synovial fluid in the joints thicker and more dense, which causes the joints to stiffen, hence more pain. Humidity has also been seen to increase pain and discomfort, especially in people with knee and hip arthritis. Low barometric pressure, which mostly precedes rainfall, causes pulling and tension in the joint tendons, tissues, and muscles, causing pain. Therefore, for effective arthritis management and arthritis pain relief, there are some places you should not live, including:

1. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis has cold and wet winters and hot and humid summers. Memphis experiences temperatures as low as 10 degrees F overnight in the coldest winter months and summers in Memphis are long, hot, and humid, causing elevated pain and discomfort in arthritis patients. Memphis also experiences rainfall throughout the year, but it varies from month to month, meaning variations in air pressure. During the rainy months, especially over spring and fall, the air pressure is low, which causes more pain and discomfort for arthritis patients. On the upside, Memphis has a pretty flat terrain, making mobility easy. However, there are also few rheumatologists in the area.

2. Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston experiences short but freezing winters (down to 24 degrees F) plus long, warm, and humid summers. The city also receives an average of 46 inches of rainfall throughout the year, which is above the national average. That means that, at most times throughout the year, there is either low barometric pressure, extreme humidity, or cold, all of which play a role in worsening arthritis-related pain and discomfort. Moreover, most of West Virginia is hilly, making movements for arthritis patients on foot or wheelchairs challenging.

3. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate with short, mild, rainy winters and long, hot, humid summers. The average rainfall in Atlanta is 52 inches, above the national average. The high humidity levels in summer, freezing temperatures in winter, and low pressure during rainy seasons also contribute to worsen arthritis symptoms almost throughout the year. Most of Atlanta is hilly, making mobility difficult for arthritis patients, and there are only 16 hospitals in Atlanta with rheumatology specialists, which is below average compared to the population.

4. Dover, Delaware

Dover experiences warm, wet, and humid summers plus cold, windy, and snowy winters. The humidity and cold over extended periods mean more aggravated arthritis symptoms. While mobility is easy in Dover because of the flat terrain, the cost of living is high, which means seeking medical attention could be challenging. There are also only around 18 rheumatologists in Dover, which means you might have to wait a long time before you can see one. 

5. Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield experiences a humid continental climate with hot and humid summers and cold and snowy winters. The area is surrounded by hills, causing the terrain to be generally elevated, making it hard for people with arthritis to move around. There are also only about 19 rheumatologists in-state, which means they have less capacity for individual, personal care.

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