Why Do Joints Hurt in the Cold?
We have all experienced pain in our joints when temperatures drop. This is usually due to a diagnosis known as cold-induced arthritis. In this article, we will take a look at the science behind why our joints hurt when temperatures drop.
Why Do Joints Hurt?
When it’s cold outside, the tissues in our joints contract. This decreases the amount of space between bones in the joint, and can lead to pain. For people with arthritis, the pain can be more severe because the cartilage and ligaments in the joint are breaking down on their own, even before the cold weather sets in.
Some people are more likely to experience intense pain when temperatures drop than others. People with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, as well as those with a history of joint injuries, may be at an increased risk of flare-ups when it gets cold. Age also plays a role, as joints tend to lose flexibility and become more prone to pain as we get older.
How to Manage Joint Pain in the Cold
There are several steps you can take to manage joint pain in the cold:
- Wear warm clothing. Layers of warm clothing can help keep your joints warm and reduce pain.
- Stay active. Staying active helps keep your joints flexible and reduces pain.
- Use heat or cold therapy. Applying heat or cold to the joint can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Talk to your doctor. A doctor can help you find a treatment plan to manage pain.
Joint pain in the cold is common, and more likely to occur in people with existing conditions such as arthritis. To keep your joints healthy and reduce pain, wear layers of warm clothing, stay active, and use heat or cold therapy when needed. Talk to your doctor to find a tailored treatment plan.
5. Are there particular risk factors for joint pain related to cold weather?
Yes, there are particular risk factors for joint pain related to cold weather. People who have arthritis and other joint-related conditions may experience increased joint pain when the weather gets colder. Other risk factors include stress, age, injury, and infections.
2. How can people protect their joints from the colder temperatures?
People can protect their joints from the colder temperatures by keeping them warm and mobile. They should wear layers of clothing that keep their joints warm and protected, avoid activities that cause unnecessary strain on their joints, and practice gentle range-of-motion exercises like stretching and yoga. People should also stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, they should speak to their doctor if they experience any joint pain or inflammation.
4. Could medications help alleviate joint pain in colder weather?
Yes, certain medications can help alleviate joint pain in colder weather. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. Other medications include corticosteroids such as prednisone, which can provide more targeted relief of joint pain, but can also have potentially serious side effects. Talk to your doctor to find out which medication may be best for you.