While wintertime can be an occasion to celebrate- what with all the festivities of Diwali and Christmas, not to mention the relaxing weeks off of work with New years around the corner- for some people, it can be a harrowing time. Many complain that as the days get shorter, the nights get longer and a chill fills the air, join paint increases.
There exists an undeniable connection between winter and joint pain worsening. It is no stretch to say ‘Winter is Coming and so is the pain’. This article aims to bring those reasons to light and tell you what you can do to prevent or minimize your pain during these cold times.
Kind of weather that brings pain
Several studies have attempted to determine the kind of weather changes that impact joint pain, but the results have been mixed.
Researchers discovered that every 10-degree reduction in temperature, as well as low barometric pressure, is linked to an increase in arthritis pain in a study of 200 persons with knee osteoarthritis. However, a recent Dutch research of 222 persons with hip osteoarthritis discovered that increased barometric pressure and humidity made people’s discomfort and stiffness worse during a 2-year period.
Another set of researchers examined the medical data of almost 11 million Medicare visits and compared the dates to local weather reports. They found no correlation between weather variations and joint discomfort. Two recent Australian investigations, one on knee pain and one on lower back pain, revealed no link between weather change and pain.
Even though the science isn’t clear, flare-ups as the weather changes are a reality for many people who suffer from joint discomfort. Some people’s bodies may just be more sensitive to weather changes. Many people claim that warmer climates provide relief, although there is no scientific evidence that this is the case.
Reasons for winter joint pain
There is no definitive explanation for why cold weather affects your joints. Let us go over all the widely accepted theories for it.
Cold, low temperatures are the leading cause of joint discomfort in the winter. Low temperatures produce muscular spasms in the body, which can worsen joints and cause stiffness. Vitamin D levels can also drop throughout the winter owing to reduced sun exposure, resulting in weakening joints and bones. When there is a risk of frostbite in cold temperatures, blood circulation to our toes and fingers might also be reduced.
Barometric pressure, often known as atmospheric pressure, is the weight of the air that varies according to the weather. In warm weather, barometric pressure is high, and in cold weather, barometric pressure falls. When the barometric pressure falls, the tissues in your joints expand somewhat, causing joint discomfort. According to one hypothesis, drops in barometric pressure cause tendons, muscles, and surrounding tissues to expand. Because of the limited space within the body, this can cause pain, particularly in arthritis-affected joints.
Joint Fluid Thickening
The shock-absorbing fluid inside the joint is called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is often the consistency of an egg white, allowing for free and easy joint mobility. In cooler temperatures, however, synovial fluid hardens, impairing its ability to move freely. As a result, the joints might stiffen or become “creaky.”
Sharper Nerve Sensitivity
During the winter, the human body’s pain receptors become more sensitive, resulting in excruciating agony. An increased nerve sensitivity is especially frequent in those who have had recent or previous joint injuries. Scarring, inflammation, or adhesions can also produce nerve hypersensitivity in cold conditions. As a result, when the temperature lowers, winter joint pain begins.
High relative humidity
When chilly weather is combined with high humidity levels, joint discomfort might intensify. Although the specific cause is uncertain, some researchers believe that excessive humidity is detrimental to bone and cartilage cells.
Absence of Activity
People are often less active during the winter months. Because many joint disorders react effectively to frequent exercise or stretching, prolonged inactivity can exacerbate joint discomfort.
It is important to remember that some people are more vulnerable than others.
Everyone’s body reacts to changes in barometric pressure, but persons with arthritis and chronic pain are especially susceptible to discomfort. Bad weather may also have an effect on people’s moods; if you are unhappy or depressed, the feeling of pain might be amplified.
Consult one of our expert doctors at Radiance Hospitals if you notice any odd or new symptoms with your joints, such as persistent swelling, redness, or trouble placing pressure on or utilizing the joint. Seek medical attention immediately away if you are experiencing persistent or severe pain that is causing you to become disabled.
Cures and Treatments
While the simplest suggestion may be to move to a warmer climate, that isn’t always a feasible solution for obvious reasons. There are more than enough things you can do at home to ensure that your joints are less likely to hurt and experience maximum comfort during these colder days.
In fact, sometimes, the best solution is Joint Replacement Surgery But before that, let us look at the tips for winter joining pain comfort.
Wear Warm Clothes
The temperature may drop outside but there are several things you can do to ensure that you give yourself maximum comfort. The first thing you need to do is always ensure you are as warm as you can be. Invest in some high-quality thermals and warm winter wear. Woolen thigh-high socks are a wonderful idea. Thick and multiple layers are your friend. Never leave the house in clothes that don’t keep you warm. Thick coats that go to your knees, warm scarves and monkey caps are a great idea. Make sure these clothes aren’t tight. The air between layers acts as a great insulator as well.
Don’t forget, we do mean at all times. No matter how inconvenient it is to put on a jacket, gloves, a cap, and socks just to go outside for a few minutes or to a friend or relative’s house, it’s critical to protect yourself. Sweaters, sweatpants, jackets, coats, mittens, beanies, gloves, socks, and waterproof boots must be included in your winter outfit. It is critical to always keep your hands and feet warm to avoid winter joint pain.
Stay Toasty Indoors
Keep yourself warm and comfy when you’re indoors. This will not only help your mindset, but it will also keep you active. Make sure your home is a safe haven for all your needs. If there are draughts and drafts in your house, repair them. As much as possible, make your hair airproof. Keep the windows and doors closed to keep the chilly winter air out. Maintain a pleasant temperature in your heating system. A heating pad or hot water bottle may also help to relieve painful joints.
One word of warning, especially if you have diabetes or other health issues: avoid using heating pads and hot water bottles for an extended period of time. Always follow your doctor’s advice and use these hot objects according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Regular exercise is essential. Winter makes us sluggish. On a cold winter morning, most of us don’t even want to get out of bed. It is, nonetheless, critical to keep your body moving! It would be beneficial if you exercised on a regular basis to strengthen your bones and muscles since this minimizes strain on joints and the likelihood of discomfort. Exercising also helps to maintain body weight, which relieves strain on our knees. Stretch and move about to keep your joints flexible during the winter.
Even in the dead of winter, it’s critical to keep your body moving. While you should seek medical attention if you are experiencing severe joint pain, stiff or achy joints should not be a reason to keep sitting or sleeping.
Avoid Gaining Weight
Sometimes the only ‘gains’ you have in winter are the fat deposits in your belly. This can prove to be a dangerous thing. Healthy habits tend to slip around the holidays, with many gaining weight. Although the typical weight gain is just about a kilo, even a tiny amount of extra weight can cause problems with your knees and other joints.
If you need to cut back after the holidays, the New Year is a perfect time to start. Although the gym may be packed, there are several deals available to help you achieve your healthy New Year’s objectives. The greatest weight-loss rule is to understand “calories in vs. calories out”—create a 500-calorie deficit every day to lose around half a kilo per week which is a healthy, maintainable rate.
Take Vitamin D supplements.
Maintain adequate vitamin D levels since a shortfall might raise the risk of osteoporosis. It also causes weariness and muscular problems, as well as frequent mood swings. To alleviate joint pain, ask our doctors if you need a prescription of vitamin D tablets.
Increase Your Consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lessen joint inflammation. Including them in your diet might help keep your joints from becoming tight. To avoid joint discomfort throughout the winter, eat Omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and avocados.
Eat A Balanced, Healthy Diet
While a nutritious diet is vital all year, a well-balanced diet will keep your body healthy during the winter months, preventing illness and associated aches and pains. While science is still deciding whether certain foods directly affect joint pain, the importance of a healthy diet remains.
Book an appointment
Better than any advice we can give you on the internet, a customized chart that our team of doctors can prepare for you will be a much more helpful thing. If your pain is severe, you may need a knee replacement.
Don’t worry, knee replacement is a perfectly safe procedure. Joint replacement surgery is a low-risk, high-reward knee surgery that will make sure you can use the knee just as well as you used to.
We, at Radiance Hospitals, specialize in delivering effective winter treatment alternatives for patients suffering from back pain, arthritis or osteoporosis, and joint discomfort. Visit our website to schedule an appointment with our specialist team.
Remember, you are never alone in this. You have a whole team working tirelessly to ensure that you never have to worry about winter joint pain again- in fact, if luck has it, you will never have to worry about any kind of joint pain again.
For comfortable and pain-free living, call us now. With us, you will always be in the safest hands.
Read More- How to deal with knee pain? Do’s and Don’ts