If you suspect that your joint pain increases when the winter weather starts to kick in, rest assured that it's not just you experiencing it. In fact, it's a lot more common than you'd think. There are a number of studies backed by the Arthritis Foundation suggesting that the impact that temperature and humidity can have on your joints is far from imaginary.

At Sports Medicine And Joint Replacement Specialists, we've seen firsthand the increase in flare-ups that begin when the weather turns colder. That's why we've put together this guide on why exactly these spikes in pain occur, as well as some steps you can implement to ease joint pain in no time.

The Cause of Weather-Related Joint Pain

The tricky thing when it comes to cold weather and joint pain is that there is no one direct cause. In actuality, several factors work in tandem to cause those signature aching joints in the winter.

The first one is that cold weather can cause changes in barometric pressure, specifically a decrease, which may cause tissues to expand. This can put added pressure on your joints, leading to increased pain and stiffness.

Another factor to consider is the fact that the body has a natural response to colder temperatures by constricting blood vessels. This causes a decrease in blood flow, which can lead to joint inflammation and increased pain levels.

And, of course, let's not forget about the potential for slips and falls on ice or snow, which can put added strain on already vulnerable joints.

How To Ease Joint Pain In Cold Weather

The good news is that, while it can't be mitigated entirely, there are several steps that you can take this winter season to prevent joint pain that becomes too overwhelming. 

  • Engage in Regular Physical Activity

    The first important step to take is to make sure that you're moving your body. At least, to some degree. It's entirely understandable not to want to take a jog in the snow, but you should attempt to find some kind of exercise program that fits into your individualized schedule and needs.

  • Getting this movement in is a key factor in building your muscle and bone strength. It allows you to expand your range of motion, and could seriously help against joint aches and pains.

  • That said, a lack of physical activity comes with a number of consequences. For starters, a lack of movement practically invites stiff joints to set in. And, not only will weak muscles affect your joint pain, but they can also cause a decrease in your balance which increases the likelihood of falls and accidents.

  • Keep Your Body Temperature Consistent

    It's no secret that frigid temperatures are a large factor in winter joint pain. That's why it's so important that you keep your body temperature as consistent as possible, whether you're indoors or outside.

  • When you're roaming out and about, be sure to bundle up! Adjust your wardrobe as needed to the weather changes, and make sure to bring out all of those old hats, scarves, and gloves from the back of the closet. It's especially important that you keep your more troublesome joint areas warm, so don't be afraid to pile on the layers!

  • This emphasis on keeping comfortable should extend to your indoor time, too. That means making sure you stay warm in your home, ensuring that there are no drafts or especially chilly areas. Some ways to keep your temperature regulated at home is by getting a cozy electric blanket, or perhaps trying to apply heating pads on the areas where you're experiencing increased joint pain. And, when all else fails, there's nothing wrong with taking a nice hot bath.

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet

    Making sure that you have a healthy, well-balanced diet is another essential aspect of controlling those achy joints. You see, the holidays come with a lot of exciting food, and this can be compelling. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your meals, but you have to make sure that those meals are nutritionally balanced.

  • This is especially important if you've noticed a decrease in your physical activity. That is because maintaining a healthy weight is another important part of controlling joint pain. In combination with the dropping temperatures, putting on holiday weight could affect joints even more than they're already being tested.

  • Keep Hydrated

    Hydration is important no matter the season, but during the winter a reminder is helpful. Just because you aren't sweating in the sunshine doesn't mean that your body isn't actively losing hydration. In reality, the dry air can cause as much trouble as the heat!

  • When you're dehydrated, you're likely to experience increased joint pain as well as muscle cramping. But, with plenty of fluids, you can loosen stiff joints and have a better hold over that seasonal pain.

  • Diagnosis

    To diagnose tennis elbow, healthcare professionals will typically perform a physical examination and may order imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to rule out other conditions. During the examination, they may ask about your medical history and the activities that may have contributed to the condition's development, like recognized repetitive injury or participation in frequent repetitive movement.

Get Treatment For Your Joint Pain Today

Though these are all ways that you can help relieve joint pain on your own, none of them are true treatment options for your underlying conditions. In order to have a full breadth of understanding regarding the source of your joint pain, you need to see a professional orthopedic practitioner.

If you’re interested in learning more about the source of your joint pain or treating a pre-existing joint-related condition, consider taking a look at the wide array of services offered at Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement Specialists. Your pain won't wait- so you shouldn't either! Schedule an appointment online with us today and get back to the things you love!