Does the Cold Weather Bother Your Joints?
If the cold weather bothers your joints, you are not alone. Changes in weather, especially falling temperatures can cause stiffness, aches and pains in your joints.
Although there are no scientific studies to explain why the cold causes pain and stiffness, there is a common understanding among physicians. Dr. Matthew S. Grunkemeyer, an affiliated orthopaedic surgeon with OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare says, “Drops in barometric pressure can cause pain, especially in joints affected by arthritis. The pressure causes tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissues to expand, changing blood flow to the region, this can cause pain.”
Dr. Grunkemeyer believes that is one of the reasons you see people with arthritis symptoms moving to warmer climates when they retire.
Exercise Can Help Joint Pain
When you’re in pain, you may not be able to think about exercise. But regular exercise and movement is the best thing to help your aching joints. Lack of activity can even cause your joints to become stiffer—move it or lose it.
“Exercise eases arthritis pain, increases strength and flexibility, and boosts your energy,” says Dr. Grunkemeyer. “Exercise can not only lessen your pain, but it can also improve your quality of life.”
The important factor when exercising is to stay in the range of what is tolerable for your arthritis pain. Dr. Grunkemeyer recommends:
- Swimming or water aerobics in a warm pool
- Riding a bike or using a stationary bike at the gym
- A low-impact elliptical trainer
- Tai Chi
- Weight training
An exercise program may be the last thing on your mind when it is cold outside and your joints ache, but it may be just what you need to ease pain and improve your energy level.
If you experience any unusual or new symptoms with your joints—such as persistent swelling, redness, difficulty putting pressure on, or using, the joint—it’s a good idea to consult your primary care physician or orthopaedic surgeon. If you want to find relief, call one our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons from OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine today! Call 859-301-BONE (2663) to make an appointment.