Joint pain can make daily life difficult at any time, but it’s even more common in winter for people who are not otherwise prone to it. What causes a more pronounced joint pain in the cold and what can we do about it?
What is the reason why joint pain is more common in cold weather?
Cold makes our muscles, tendons and joints stiffer, which in itself can be painful. In addition, cold also causes the walls of blood vessels to constrict, which reduces circulation in the limbs, making them even more susceptible to cold.
However, it is not only the drop in temperature that has a negative effect on joints, but also the change in air pressure due to the change of seasons that can cause painful symptoms.
Perfectly healthy joints are not affected by pressure changes, nor are those who have undergone knee replacement surgery. However, in worn, inflamed joints, the pressure differential may cause tension and swelling, which may lead to pain. In cold conditions, muscles are also more vulnerable and pain sensation is heightened, making pain receptors more sensitive.
What can we do to relieve joint pain?
The following tips are useful for anyone who regularly struggles with aching limbs during the colder months. It varies depending on what works for you, so it’s worth trying several solutions.
1. Warm clothing
Our parents often told us to dress properly in winter, and always wear scarves, hats and gloves. But when you’re young, it’s easy to forget these warnings and think of yourself as indestructible. But as we get older, we find out more and more how right our parents were.
Our bodies basically work by heating up vital organs. So keeping the brain, heart and internal organs warm is a priority, and then we move outwards, warming our torso, and finally our limbs. It’s important to wear appropriate clothing to ensure that our hands, feet and joints don’t get cold.
2. Warm baths, thermal water
In winter, it’s not only nice to soak in warm water, but it’s also really good for the body. The warmth itself has a positive effect on circulation, relaxing muscles and joints. Besides, minerals and compounds dissolved in thermal water can also bring relief to aching joints.
Exercise is beneficial not only because it tones muscles, but also because active movement keeps joints healthy. Mobilizing gymnastics, yoga and stretching help to keep limbs moving in their normal, healthy range of motion. Swimming can also be an excellent solution for people with joint problems and can be combined with the benefits of warm water.
Massage is primarily a muscle toner too, but the condition of the muscles affects the whole body. Muscle knots and shortened muscles can change your posture, make you lean to one side or hunch over. All types of incorrect put inappropriate stress on our joints.
5. Vitamins, nutrients and supplements
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone and joint health. In winter, when there is less sunshine, it is worth supplementing your vitamin D intake with a vitamin supplement. In addition, specific cartilage and joint strengthening supplements are also recommended.
If you have done all you can to protect your joints, but the pain still persists or even increases, you should consult a doctor. In this way, the cause of the problem can be identified in time and targeted treatment can prevent major problems.
Ultimately, the only way to repair neglected joints that are in poor condition is to implant a hip or knee replacement. As long as you can avoid surgery, it is worth doing something about the health of your joints!