cold weather and joint pain

“A flexible body and a flexible mind will keep you stable and strong.” – Anupama Garg

For the human body, flexibility hinges on functional joints, along with healthy muscles and connective tissues. Yet, even with working muscles and tendons, dysfunctional or painful joints can restrict movement.

Flexibility, Movement, and Joint Pain

Chronic joint pain can stem from a number of causesFor most people, the most common cause of joint pain is arthritis, the two main forms of arthritis being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Along with arthritis, the physical symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency may include muscle pain in the joints.

Common sports injuries can also trigger post-traumatic arthritis. These include sprains, cartilage tears, knee injuries, fractures, and dislocations. These injuries that occur can happen suddenly or chronic injuries with nagging, ongoing pain.

When a joint is injured or afflicted with a form of arthritis, it can restrict flexibility and limit the movement of the body. In addition, this can cause acute and, over time, chronic pain. 

Oftentimes, these old injuries – whether caused by a sports activity or simply from a fall or other trauma – can linger in our bodies and disrupt the function of our joints. 

And the weather can physically affect our joints it seems.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Many people have had the experience of feeling pain or discomfort in their knees or even elbows when the weather changes. However, most of the evidence that this is a real and physical phenomenon is anecdotal.

However, there is some scientific support for what many people know is a real thing.

According to an article from WebMD,

“It’s common to blame joint pain flare-ups on changes in the weather, and many doctors believe people can feel more joint pain on cold, rainy days. But the research on the connection between the two isn’t clear.

Barometric pressure — or the pressure of the air — can affect joints, but humidity, precipitation, and temperature are also at play. That makes it tricky for scientists to pinpoint exactly what it is about the weather that leads some people to report more pain when it’s cold, rainy, or humid.”

Apparently, it seems that the connection between barometric pressure and joint discomfort or pain is more evident than that of humidity and joint pain. But, for those who suffer a distinctly increased level of joint pain when it’s raining know better.

In addition, when the air becomes colder, the joints can get inflamed due to the change in atmospheric pressure. This may cause more joint pain due to increased nerve sensitivity and poor blood circulation.

If you suffer increased pain during cold or wet weather, you may feel pain in different parts of your body. However, most cold weather discomfort occurs mainly in the hips, knees, and ankles. 

If you’re athletic, this happens more when you run or workout regularly.

When you tend to spend more time exercising outdoors in the cold, you put more pressure on your weight-bearing joints. As noted above, the pain you feel can be caused by restricted blood flow to the joints due to changes in pressure.

Minimizing Chronic Joint Pain in Cold Weather

Self-treatment can help in alleviating chronic joint pain and that usually involves applying some form of heat. One article noted,

“There’s a reason heat is often the first thing recommended for joint pain — it really helps… Heat and moisture together often work better to reduce arthritis pain than either on its own so take advantage of this by spending some time in a hot sauna or steam room. If you prefer to stay at home, a hot bath often does the trick… Keep all the doors closed and the fan off so the steam can build up in your bathroom.”

Over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can help with taking the edge off the pain and reduce the inflammation. 

Diet makes a difference, as well. Increasing your consumption of certain foods such as cold-water fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are proven to reduce inflammatory proteins in the body. So, eating more tuna, salmon, trout, and halibut can help, along with nuts and seeds.

Leafy greens such as arugula, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts are in the brassica family which has been known to block an enzyme that causes swelling in the joints. And you can add blueberries, which are high in anthocyanins that help reduce inflammatory responses in the body, and apples – a fiber-rich, anti-inflammatory fruit.

However, treating the symptoms does not eliminate the cause of chronic joint pain. For that to happen you must treat the source of your pain and make the adjustments needed to become pain-free. 

Pain and Performance Solutions for Your Chronic Joint Pain

For chronic joint pain, as with any injury, the first step in recovery is letting us get to know you and your pain issues. After making your first appointment, we’ll ask a series of questions to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of pain.

We then conduct a full examination to determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery. Your body will compensate for pain to allow you to move on with your day. However, your body can also shift that pain around to compensate for your discomfort and this can lead to other forms of pain.

Using ART® for achieving joint pain relief can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started a while back with another injury you might have sustained.

Your trust in us is key, as is your openness and honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.

You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.