Why Joints Hurt More in Cold Weather and How to Treat Them

December 25, 2020 6:40 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The winters of Napa County, CA are challenging for those who live with arthritis. Doctors continue to ask themselves why cold weather increases joint pain, but have yet to discover a correlation between the two. However, many who suffer from arthritis would say a drop in temperature has very real consequences. If this describes you, keep reading for tips on how to treat joint pain throughout the winter.

The science behind weather and joint pain

Cold weather exacerbates arthritis symptoms in some patients, but there’s no clear tie between a drop in temperature and joint pain. Scientists have run countless studies that end with inconclusive results. In fact, people are just as likely to experience increased joint pain with hot temperatures as they are during the winter.

Even though scientists don’t understand why cold weather increases joint pain, they have a couple theories as to why this happens. One possible explanation is that a drop in barometric pressure promotes swelling in the joints. Barometric pressure occurs in the air and correlates to colder temperatures. When air pressure begins to drop, your joints expand and trigger more pain.

Another theory has to do with the temperature itself. Studies have shown that cold weather thickens the synovial fluid in joints, which causes stiffness and limits mobility. Synovial fluid surrounds the joints and is responsible for absorbing impact from daily activities. When the fluid thickens, people with arthritis will have trouble balancing and become more susceptible to pain while going about their day.

Proven methods for easing achy joints

As you’ve probably noticed, cold weather is often the culprit behind achy joints. Doctors don’t know why cold weather increases joint pain, but what they do know is that there are plenty of ways to treat it. One of the best methods is to layer up in the winter. Your doctor in Napa County, CA will recommend multiple lightweight layers because they provide better insulation and, unlike heavy winter coats, they won’t hinder your balance.

If cold temperatures aggravate your arthritis symptoms, heat therapy is the best way to treat joint pain through the winter. Wear compression gloves under your mittens and use hand warmers to help you brave the cold. At the end of the day, treat yourself to a warm bath and ease into bed with a steaming cup of tea.

When it’s cold outside, many people prefer to bury themselves under a mountain of blankets and lounge on their sofa all day. However, a lack of exercise will only make joint pain worse. Arthritis patients commonly believe movement is the source of their troubles, but the opposite is true. Exercise keeps your body warm, increases energy levels and reduces joint pain in the long run. Try a low-impact sport like swimming or yoga that will be gentle on your joints.

Don’t let cold weather bog you down. The physical therapists at Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy will teach you how to treat joint pain through the winter so you can spend more time living your life to the fullest. Tell us about your symptoms, and one of our experts in Napa County, CA will know just how to help!

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