Morning Rounds: Can achy joints predict the weather?

(CBS News) A lot of people say they can "feel" the weather in parts of their body, and now a growing amount of research suggests scientists are finding real evidence that links achy joints to the forecast.

"CBS This Morning" contributor Dr. David Agus, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, said on "CBS This Morning" that there is truth to saying painful joints can signal a change in the air.

Watch: Weather and joint pain closely linked

"You've got to think of a joint as like a balloon, and there's always pressure on it from the air, but when that pressure lowers, when the weather is going to change, it actually expands a little, and you feel it, and that's what people are feeling in their joints," he said. "Especially when they've injured- if you've injured your joint, the nerves are really sensitive there, so you can feel it above any other joints in your body."

Agus said that it's not just older people who have this pain, but anyone can feel the weather change if they've had an injury. He said that what people are feeling is the barometric pressure changing.

"It's a barometric change when the storm's coming in, and you start to feel it and classically 10 to 12 hours beforehand," he said. "It's also your body talking to you. Weather and disease go and hand in hand."

The doctor explained that when the temperature drops 10 degrees a person's chance of a heartattack increases by a couple of percentages. Weather alters blood flow, and he said people can see this in their bodies very easily.

"You see it when you get hot; you're red. That's your blood rushing to your skin," he said. "When you're cold your skin is white, and so weather clearly changes us."

Agus told the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts that there are quite a few things that achy joint-sufferers can do to keep their pain at bay. The doctor suggests focusing on prevention as the best way to take care of joints. He suggested wearing a good pair of shoes, stretching with yoga and strengthening the core muscles as ways to prevent pain. However, if there is something causing the pain, it's important to find out why.

"If a sport starts to hurt you, you got to figure out why it's doing it," he said. "Your body is talking to you. We've got to listen."

  • Shoshana Davis

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