Many people believe that cold weather affects their joints making them feel stiff and creaky in the winter, however, this hasn’t been scientifically proven. The case may be that some people are just more susceptible to changes in temperature. Nonetheless, there is one group of people that swear they can predict a change in weather, based upon their join pain level, these are arthritic sufferers. One study by Tufts University in 2007 has shown that people with arthritis do feel more pain when temperatures drop by at least 10 degrees. Additionally, barometric pressure, low temperatures and precipitation seems to increase pain for this group. As Arthritis.org explain: “Researchers aren’t sure why this happens. They suspect certain atmospheric conditions increase swelling in the joint capsule.”
A drop in barometric pressure may cause joints to expand and low temperatures may cause the synovial fluid within the joints to get thicker making them more stiff and painful.
If you suffer from stiff joints during the winter months you may find these tips handy to help ease your pain:
Keep Warm – It may seem obvious but making sure you are wearing enough layers such as vests, jumpers, a coat, hat, gloves, a scarf, thick enough socks and the right shoes are all vital for keeping warm in winter. You can also take a hot shower or bath, drink a warm drink, eat hot food and turn the heating up in your home.
Stay Active – don’t stop moving just because it’s cold outside! It’s imperative to get the blood circling around your body. Exercise inside if you can’t face the weather outside. Building up muscle around your joints will help to reduce the pressure on them and also make them less prone to injury.
Maintain A Healthy Weight – If you are overweight this will be putting unnecessary pressure on your joints making them stiff and hard to move. By eating a healthy diet rich in leafy green vegetables, healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins and by exercising regularly you can lose weight. Remember, energy in versus energy out, you need to be at a calorific deficit to lose weight, or move more to burn more energy.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D deficiency can lead to joint pain. Making sure you get enough vitamin D in the winter months can be tricky. Make sure your diet contains enough foods compiled of vitamin D such as dairy products or mushrooms. You could even take a supplement to support this.
Get A Sports Massage – According to research in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least 8 weeks has been shown to reduce pain. We offer Sports Massages at ALO Physiotherapy Clinic to book yours call 0207 636 8845.
If you are suffering from stiff joints or pain it may be a good idea to see a physiotherapist. If you’re unsure if physio is for you then why not book a 15-minute Complimentary Consultation with one of our team who will be able to advise you on what to do next.