It may be one of the most common questions related to joint pain: does colder weather actually make it worse?
It’s been a bitterly cold weather across the U.S., with many states reporting record cold temperatures and icy winds. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who live with joint pain, those plummeting temperatures may have been the cause of some real grief. Plenty of people will attest that their joint pain seems to increase when it’s cold and wet outside—and many even say they can predict rain or a coming cold snap.
The cold weather certainly isn’t pleasant, but does it really worsen joint pain? Let’s take a closer look.
Bad weather and increased joint pain: is there a correlation?
It’s long been assumed that bad weather exacerbates joint pain. But in a recent study, researchers discovered that more patients actually visit their doctor for joint pain on dry days than on cold, rainy ones.
That doesn’t mean that joint pain is caused by dry, warm weather either, though. While more visits for bone and joint pain did occur on dry days than wet ones, the difference was so slight that the researchers concluded changes in the weather have very little to do with increasing or decreasing joint pain.
No study is ultimately conclusive, though. Anupam B. Jena, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard, told the New York Times that there could still be a link between changes in the weather and changes in joint pain. Even though the BMJ study seems to deny such a causal link, another study drawn from a larger pool and analyzed in greater detail could still yield different results.
What do these results mean for you?
Whether or not it’s an old wives’ tale, but the fact remains that many people feel their joint pain worsening during the colder months. This can make it difficult and uncomfortable to do the things you love, severely reducing your quality of life.
While there’s no concrete scientific explanation yet for why colder weather might exacerbate joint pain, there are several theories. Some healthcare professionals believe that cold weather constricts your joints’ blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood and leading to stiffness and discomfort. Then again, when it’s cold and rainy outside, it’s often harder to stay active, and that can mean increased joint pain and stiffness.
Whatever the case, joint pain is no fun at any time of year—but especially in the wintertime when it’s already cold and miserable outside. To keep your joint pain manageable, it’s important to stay active, eat healthy foods, and not overexert yourself.
If joint pain is giving you grief, it may be time to consider a new approach. Alternative medicines like injection therapy and acupuncture have helped many patients experience long-lasting relief from pain.
At Spin & Joint Center, we use the latest in cutting edge regenerative medicine to bring natural healing and relief to your joints. To find out about alternate treatment options that may be right for you, contact us today.