Cold Weather Making Your Joints Hurt?

It may seem like an old wives’ tale, but there actually is some truth to why you feel joint pain when the temperature gets low and precipitation occurs. Let’s look into why this happens and what you can do to get through the winter season.

Some common reasons why cold weather affects joint pain are barometric pressure changes, increased sensitivity of nerves in the joint, cold and humidity, increasing thickness of joint fluid, and inactivity. Barometric pressure often falls before cold weather sets in. This change in the weight of the atmosphere causes the expansion of tissues which can result in pain in your joints.

If you’ve recently experienced an injury, the nerves in your joints may be hypersensitive due to inflammation and scarring. The fluid in your joints, known as synovial fluid, becomes more viscous and less free-flowing in the cold making your joints less lubricated and likely to be stiff.

High levels of humidity in conjunction with cold weather can be hard on bone and cartilage cells.

And finally, inactivity, people tend to move less in the winter months, which can be hard on joints as well.

So what can you do about all of these factors? Here are 5 suggestions that may help:

  • Pain medications – Before taking pain medication, consult with your doctor and be sure you are strictly following their instructions regarding the type, dosage, and frequency of use.
  • Keep warm – Put on warm clothes, heat your home, use electric blankets, and anything else you can do to stay warm.
  • Prevent swelling – Use knee bands or braces to reduce swelling or well-fitting gloves.
  • Stay active – Keep your joints limber and strong by doing a few stretches and calisthenics. This should help keep joints moving as long as you don’t overdo it.
  • Be positive- It’s easy to let the cold and darkness get to you. Keep your mind engaged in fun activities and make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating healthy.

We hope these tips help you stay healthy and pain-free this winter season. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your achy joints, give us a call at (219) 795-3360.

Posted in: Joint Pain, Orthopedic Services

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