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Cold Weather and Joint Pain

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When the north wind doth blow and we shall have snow. As the popular children’s poem states, winds from the north bring in colder weather – often snow, freezing rain, sleet, or just the colder temperatures traveling with said wind. No matter the result, wintertime winds are less than warm. But aside from being chilly or wanting to stay indoors, these cooler temperatures can actually cause painful side effects.

Each year, those of all ages suffer from season-induced ailments. Even when staying indoors, many suffer from aching joints each time colder temps come around. Most common in previous injuries (even after they’ve long-since been healed) or older patients, these pains flare up like clockwork to Mother Nature’s schedule.

What’s the Correlation Between Joint Pain and the Cold?

According to research scientists, it’s not necessarily the cold that does it, but the changes the weather goes through in the process. Though to be fair, chillier air has been shown to increase swelling, pressure, or tightness that manifests within the joints. In these cases, it’s best to stay warm, keep joints and muscles flexible. You can also talk to your doctor about finding the best way to reduce these bouts of swelling when they are most likely to take place.

As for the changes in weather, doctors and scientists alike have varied views on this theory. One such cause is said to be the change in the atmosphere and barometric pressure. As the pressure levels drop, joints that are already suffering from injury or pain react to that adjustment, which hits the nerves, causing instant pain. Therefore, as soon as the barometric pressure begins to dip, the pains start in – not necessarily when it starts being cold. The body’s sensory adapters are also on highest alert with a low barometric pressure, which means they’re more susceptible to any kinds of sensations.

Other theories come from blood flow. Because the body adjusts circulation in cooler times, there is less blood there is available to keep joints warm and “primed.” Circulation also improves overall body functions, so when this is reduced, other factors suffer as well. [The Chicago Tribune]

How to Obtain Joint Relief

To best combat cold-induced pains, there are several tactics that can be taken. First, talk to your doctor, then look to these self-healing steps.

  • Get regular movement – with added flexibility, joints and muscles will become stronger and more equipped to fight ongoing changes.
  • Stay active – even if not exercising, walking or moving throughout the house keeps joints from becoming overly stiff.
  • Opt for gentle, OTC medicines. Regular strength pain relievers may offer just enough to take the edge off these weather-induced pains.
  • Stay warm. If the body isn’t struggling to keep up the core temperature, you can increase circulation across the board. Stay warm by drinking a warm beverage, wearing layers, or using an extra blanket at night.
  • Stay warm. If the body isn’t struggling to keep up the core temperature, you can increase circulation across the board. Stay warm by drinking a warm beverage, wearing layers, or using an extra blanket at night.
  • Natural cures. Weight loss, massages, herbs, and supplements have all been shown to reduce joint pain – no matter the cause. Look into these methods to alleviate pressure year-round, as well as during the winter. [Health]

While it might not matter whether colder temperatures or changes in atmospheric pressures are causing joint pain – finding a working treatment does. To gain a better handle on upcoming weather changes, look to a local weather source for a better handle as to when these changes will take place.

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