Why Your Joint Aches and Pains Feel Worse In Cold Weather

Why Your Joint Aches and Pains Feel Worse In Cold Weather

Are your joints starting to feel stiff lately? Do they ache more than usual? Have you noticed any clicks and cracks coming from your knees?  There are several reasons why your joint aches and pain feel worse in cold weather.  If you’re struggling to put your finger on it and you’re not sure why it’s happening to you -chances are you’re not alone.

Why Your Joint Aches and Pains Feel Worse In Cold Weather

Many people just like you are becoming a victim of knee and joint pain. This time of year (every year!) joint pain is one of the most common things we see and treat at the LEVEL4 PT & Wellness.

It starts with a few clicks of the knees every now and then. But nothing painful, and you think nothing of it. Then as time goes on, when your knees click it’s painful, and they start to ache a bit more (usually around the knee cap, and on the inside of your knee).

Sometimes after you’ve walked around the shops for a few hours they begin to ache and feel sore. And getting back up again after relaxing with a cup of tea on the sofa, you notice it takes a few steps for your knees ‘to get going’ again…

They can even make it difficult for you to get out of your car with ease. And when the cold weather arrives, your joints begin to feel even WORSE. So why does it happen? And why does it happen more to men and women aged 30+?

Well, there’s a WHOLE bunch of reasons that exist as to why joints in your body become more problematic in colder weather – especially if you have arthritis. Although the evidence to support the common observation that colder weather alone is weak.

The evidence to support the common belief and observation that cold climate worsens arthritic symptoms is weak, however, some studies and experiments have shown that patients with arthritic symptoms do experience a trend of worsening in pain and stiffness in cold and damp weather. This is particularly noticed in rheumatoid patients and elderly patients with advanced degenerative changes in their joints. It could not be ascertained whether this was due to variation in the perception of symptoms nor was there a scientific reason behind this common belief.

But the two most common reasons we see at the clinic are these:

Inactivity

The cold weather naturally restricts the warmth of the blood that flows around your body, (which helps keep you warm and mobile). – AND – the fact you’re much less likely to keep as active and mobile in the colder months as you did in the warmer months.

Keeping mobile is just like spraying WD40 on the stiff parts of a bike or car. Just like a vehicle needs oil to get you from A to B efficiently – your joints need to keep active so they don’t stiffen up. And here’s the thing that many people don’t realize – the Winter months and long periods of inactivity, can be the root cause of many years of what we call – ‘all of a sudden’ lifelong knee pains.

If you need proof that being active helps hour overall healthy, I recommend you read a previous blog I wrote on the 5 Health Benefits of Walking [NEED TO ADD LINK]

Muscle Weakness

You see, as your muscles get a long rest during the colder months and there’s a chance they’ll become weaker and slowly get to the point where they won’t be able to support your knees. And worse yet, many people don’t even notice it happening until the pain sets in.

But when it does, a chain of events is triggered and when your knees don’t have the support of strong muscles, problems like arthritis can set in. Which is why it’s so important to make the most of every opportunity you have this Winter to keep active, so you can ward off the curse of bad knees creeping up on you.

We know it’s easy to think that when the weather begins to warm up you’ll exercise again. Problem is, very few people understand that your muscles need to be strong and stable to exercise safely! And if you go into tough exercise too quickly, there’s a chance you’ll injure yourself and make those sore joints feel even worse!

So, make sure to keep the colder weather aches and pains away this Winter by including some kind of appropriate activity in your day, every day. It doesn’t have to be outdoors! You can book yourself into an exercise class with friends, do low- impact movements that are kind to your joints like Pilates and Yoga from the comfort of your living room, and if you have an exercise bike (or something like that), use it while watching your favorite TV program.

There really is something for everyone. So, what are you going to do to keep active this winter?

Dedicated to your health,

Dr. Oscar Andalon

Knee Pain Guide

PS… If you or someone you love is looking for a solution to an achy knee that keeps them from being active and mobile like they want or feel frustrated by the limitations of knee pain, then the tips guide is a perfect start to gain valuable information.  Just click the tips guide image above or go to https://www.level4pt.com/knee-pain to enter your information and immediately receive the tips guide to your email.  Keep moving!

Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

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