It’s not your imagination: winter can make arthritis and joint pain worse. In fact, one study found that 68% of surveyed participants said they were positive that weather changes impacted their pain.
What is it about the cold weather that impacts joint pain? Let’s discuss why winter joint pain is worse and what you can do to ease it.
Why is Joint Pain Worse in the Winter?
Experts believe winter joint pain results from changing air (or barometric) pressure. These changes happen when the weather is about to change, such as an approaching storm that can cause a drop in barometric pressure.
When the air pressure decreases, body tissue expands, which puts more pressure on the nerves. With the changing pressure, these nerves will send more pain signals to the brain. It does not need to be an extreme change, and even those in desert climates report feeling more pain in the winter.
Tips to Treat Winter Joint Pain
During the winter, staying as warm as possible can help protect the body. Dress in warm clothing and cover your head, hands, and feet.
Gentle exercise is also critical for keeping joints loose and warm. Choose an activity that builds muscle around the joints without hurting the joints themselves. Yoga, water sports, cycling, and walking are all low-impact sports that will help your joints.
Diet can also impact inflammation in the body. Foods high in sugar, trans fat, and omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation and promote flare-ups. Many also find that eliminating nightshades (such as tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and chili peppers) reduces symptoms. Stick to a low-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, to improve symptoms.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can bring relief. Acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen can provide occasional pain relief. Additionally, creams that have capsaicin as an ingredient can be applied to the skin where you have a painful joint for relief.
Don’t ignore your prolonged or severe arthritis pain. You might have damage or inflammation that requires daily medication. Talk to your doctor if you have to use pain medication regularly.
Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.
When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Baton Rouge, Prairieville, & Brusly.
Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks, and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs, and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations, and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.