When the cold weather brings out the hats and gloves, does it also bring on achy joints? If so, you’re not alone. Stiffness, achy joints, and pain are often associated with cold, dry weather.
Although the medical community doesn’t know exactly why this is, it’s believed to have something to do with barometric pressure and the cold’s effect on your body.
The theory is that drops in barometric pressure cause tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissues to expand. This expansion puts pressure on the joints, especially in joints affected by arthritis. In general, cold weather makes joints and muscles tight and stiff, which can result in aches and pains.
Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Bryan King, MD, PhD, of Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute, offers advice on how to relieve your joint pain when the air temperature and humidity in the air drop.
When it gets cold, we tend to hibernate. However, it’s important to move and stay active to keep your joints healthy and pain-free.
If it’s too cold to go outside, consider exercising inside. Climb stairs, do a yoga video or put on some music and dance. If your home is too small to get active, try your local rec center for a swim or walk on a treadmill.
When our body is cold, blood is sent to vital parts such as our heart, head, and lungs, and diverted from our extremities.
Keep those extremities warm with gloves and good socks and boots. It makes sense that if cold, dry air makes your joints ache, you should try your best to keep them warm. Invest in warm hats, coats, sweaters, and pants.
The most common causes of joint pain include arthritis, gout, bursitis, viral infections, and tendinitis. If you’re taking medication to reduce pain and symptoms for these conditions, consider speaking to your doctor to have your medication adjusted to address severe or new symptoms.
A hot, relaxing bath can soothe your soul and also your body aches. It’s important to stay warm and relaxed when your joint pain is acting up. Try some nice scented bath oils to reduce stress, as well as aches and pains.
Staying hydrated and eating a balanced, healthy diet will help you keep fit and strong through the cold winter months. Often when it’s cold, we don’t think of drinking, and we risk dehydration, which can lead to parched, achy muscles and joints.
Eating a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of flu and cold, which can lead to body aches. Additionally, eating healthy helps you to maintain your weight. Excess weight leads to joint pain.
If you’re experiencing joint pain for the first time, or your joint pain is increasing this winter, contact Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Northport, Alabama, today to make an appointment with Dr. King.