We all know someone who complains their joints start to hurt when it gets cold, so let’s figure out exactly what that means.
Fact or Myth: Cold weather causes your joints to hurt.
Trick question! Cold weather itself actually does not make your joints hurt but it is the drop in barometric pressure that causes your joint pain to worsen. For those who may not know, barometric pressure is just another term for atmospheric pressure or “weight of the air.” So it is not just the imagination causing people to think their joints are aching due to cold weather.
So how do we help this problem?
1. Ease the shock of cold weather on your body – dress in layers
2. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on your joints
3. Apply heat pads to the painful areas to relax the muscles
4. Stretch before going outside to loosen stiff joints so they don’t become even more stiff
5. HYDRATE! – staying hydrated helps keep inflammation away
Another important tip to focus on is not losing what you have gained in the summer and fall, try to keep working out and staying active even if it’s difficult. You will get even stiffer and it will be harder to get back to the place you were in when the weather was warmer and it will also reduce the frequency with your flare ups.
Steve Bartz, PT