Why joints hurt more in cold weather

In good old days, our ancestors and fore fathers knew a storm was coming, when they started to feel pain in their knees or may be sometimes, you’ve felt your own joints ache when the temperature outside drops.

It’s very common to blame the increase in joint pains and backaches on changes in the weather. Many doctors may agree that people feel more joint pain on cold, rainy days. But the research on this connection between these two issues is not very clear.

We usually see many theories about this correlation. One is that people with arthritic joints are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. It may be because when the cartilage of the joint is worn away, nerves in the exposed bones may sense changes in pressure in the atmosphere more specifically. 

Another concepts say that the Changes in barometric pressure makes your tendons, muscles, and any scar tissue to expand or contract and that creates pain in joints affected by arthritis. Fall in temperatures can also make the fluid inside joints thicker and that makes it stiffer in movements.

Similarly, as people feel more pain in cold weather and that make mobility difficult for such patients. They tend to stay indoors and this inactivity leads to more inactive joints, which in turn can get stiff and more painful.

Many studies have tried to find out the kind of weather changes that affect joint pain, but could not specify anything.

In one survey of 200 people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, concluded that every 10-degree drop in temperature and decreased barometric pressure –resulted in increased knee pain. More recently, a Dutch study of 222 people suffering from Hip Osteoarthritis concluded that over a period of 2 years, patients reported worsening of their pain and stiffness with increase in  barometric pressure and humidity.

But although the research is not very clear, increase in joint pains during weather changes is very real for patients with knee pains and arthritis. Such changes in weather and atmospheric pressures are beyond our control and can’t be suited as per our convenience.

But there are certain changes and lifestyle modifications can be adapted at home to relieve such flare ups.

  1. Whenever there is drop in temperatures, look after keeping yourself warm. Take warm showers or baths, try to dress in layers of warm clothes during the day. You can also think of using warm gloves and warm socks.
  2. Try frequent hot fomentation using hot water bags or heating pads. This can help in keeping joints warm.
  3. Consult your Orthopaedic surgeon about knee pain and get some relief with medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  4. Focus on keeping healthy body weight and focus on staying AKtiv. Learn to do exercises which are gentle on the joints. Focus on building muscle and bone strength. Whenever you start exercises start with warm up and don’t rush into exercises. Few gentle stretches will help in mobilising stiff joints and will avoid injuries
  5. Avoid doing heavy work and bending forward. Let others lift those heavy boxes and do heavy work for you..
  6. It is always advisable to take care of your general health. Good nutrition and diet plays very important role in maintain bone and joint health. Similarly getting adequate sleep.

Cold weather and drop in temperatures are inevitable changes in the environment around us and will keep challenging our bodies forever. But, if we follow some simple lifestyle modification tips and focus on staying AKtiv, u can always get rid of such flare up in joint pains.

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