Winter Joint Pain – Got Questions?
Joint pain in the winter should be of no surprise really. Studies show that the cold out there is frightful especially to joints causing aches and pains. The freezing temperatures in the winter causes our muscle tissues to expand and possibly put pressure on our joints causing irritation, stiffness and swelling, which can aggravate our nerves resulting in pain.
Cold Weather and Joint Pain, Predictable
- Why do my joints hurt when it’s cold?
- Why does my body ache in cold weather?
- Why do joints hurt when weather changes?
- Why do people with arthritis ache when it rains?
Individuals suffering joint pain will immediately assume they’re experiencing some sort of injury. Not necessarily. Runners for instance will experience joint pain when running during the winter season. Cold weather has been know to cause joint aches and pains.
“Pain in the knees, for example is a common complaint among athletes and weekend warrior patients, especially in cold winter seasons,” say’s Dr. Michael Monfett, MD a New York City pain specialist. “Joint pain occurs in the the knees, hips, and ankles. We see this complaint often among marathon runners who exercise outside in the cold.” add Dr. Monfett.
Avoiding those aches and pain would require certain measures to be taken before that run.
- Properly warming up before working out.
- Wearing appropriate clothing before going to be outside.
- After a workout properly cool down.
- Stretch after a workout.
Following these simple procedures will help with winter joint pain. If the joint pain worsens talk to a pain specialist / physical therapist to make sure you’re not injured.
“Joint pain doesn’t necessarily suggest an injury, but if the pain worsens, that may suggest injury,” says Says Dr. Monfett. “Remember that pain is your body’s warning system, and you need to listen to it,” Says Dr. Monfett. “Consistent joint pain could be the beginning signs of arthritis, and it is best to address it earlier on.” And of course, having joint pain or stiffness year-round—not just when the temps are low—is also a warning sign. “This could mean a structural problem in the knee cap or joint,” adds Dr. Monfett, and should be addressed by an expert.
A 2014 study of people with osteoarthritis (OA) published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders asked participants if and how weather influenced their pain. Of the 712 people who answered the survey, 469 (67%) said they were weather sensitive. It turns out that weather-sensitive people with OA experience more joint pain overall than their non-weather-sensitive counterparts.
A 2011 article published in European Journal of Pain found similar results in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The researchers looked at nine previously published studies of people with RA and concluded “pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than in others, and that patients react in different ways to the weather.”
Patients with arthritis, neck pain or other types of musculoskeletal issues tend to report most weather-related pain. “Weather doesn’t seem to have as much effect on nerve pain, like complex regional pain syndrome or neuropathy. On top of that, cold weather can make it worse, causing muscles, ligaments and joints to get stiffer and more painful.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. If your pain persists past the cold season you may need to see your local sports medicine pain management physician.