Do you ever suffer from stiffness, aches and pain during the wintertime? Not sure why when the temperature drops, your joints automatically start to hurt? Truth is there is no one real reason why this phenomenon occurs.
Why do joints hurt when the weather drops?
There are a variety of theories as to why this occurs. Some experts speculate that joint pain can be caused from a drop in atmospheric pressure causing both joints and tissue to expand, resulting in pain. Another theory suggests that cold weather can cause stiffness in the muscles which can make them harder to move thus, again, resulting in pain. Fluid in the joints (synovial fluid) can also tend to thicken in the cold weather resulting in less lubrication to the joints and causing more pain.
Whichever theory you believe applies to you, there are ways to combat the infamous joint aches that occur when the weather takes a dip.
How can you ease the pain?
Although joint pain during the wintertime is a common occurrence in many people, you don’t necessarily have to become a snowbird to avoid the pain. There are remedies that you can do right in the comfort of your home.
●Keep warm. You can keep yourself warm by taking warm baths or showers, wearing layers during the day (socks, gloves), cranking the heat at home and in your car, using an electric blanket at night and drinking warm beverages, such as soup.
●Apply heating pads. Heat can help alleviate pain by relaxing muscles.
●Become active. Being active is not only good for your overall health, but it can also help to loosen your stiff joints and keep them healthy. Go out for a walk or jog either inside or outside to help ease joint pain.
●Use over the counter (OTC) medications. There are a variety of medications both orally and topically, that can be used to help with joint pain. Medications such as NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen), acetaminophen, and glucosamine are common products that are used.
Joint pain during the winter might be common to some people, but if you find yourself with new or unusual symptoms (persistent swelling, redness, hard to walk or put pressure on joint), then consider talking to your doctor to go over other options. Overall, whether it is raining, freezing cold, or sunny as can be, our joints are crucial for us to be able to move and it’s important to take care of them so we can live life to the fullest.
- Why does cold weather make my joints hurt? Dr Ronak Patel Orthopedic Surgeon Cartilage Restoration ACL Reconstruction Hinsdale IL. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.drronakpatel.com/blog-munster-hinsdale-westmont-elmhurst-il/why-does-cold-weather-make-my-joints-hurt-19043/
- Blumberg, D. L. (n.d.). Weather & Joint Pain: Why your joints hurt when it's raining or Cold. WebMD. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/weather-and-joint-pain