• The Winter Cold Can Aggravate Your Joint Pain: Here's What You Can Do

    on Dec 10th, 2018

As the weather gets cold and wet, you may experience joint pain and stiffness, especially in load-bearing joints, such as your ankles, knees, and hips. Whether the pain is minimal or severe, you don’t have to put up with it all winter.

Our team at In Touch NYC Physical Therapy wants you to feel comfortable, and we will work with you to keep you pain-free. Read on to learn how you can keep winter joint pain at bay.

Understanding why winter weather can cause joint pain

There are several theories as to why changes in the weather can cause joint pain. For example, a drop in barometric pressure may affect the fluid in your joints and thus cause more aches. At the same time, cold weather can cause muscles to tighten and limit blood flow to your extremities, both of which can cause joint pain.

Slippery sidewalks and uneven snow can put more stress on your joints as your joints bend to accommodate the rough terrain. And women tend to be more sensitive to weather changes than men, with 62% of women experiencing weather sensitivity and just 37% of men.

Adjusting your daily routine

There are a few simple things you can do to encourage blood flow to your extremities and to accommodate the low air pressure this winter. First, try to stay warm. If you’re going outside, dress in warm layers to keep your core temperature up. Keeping your core temperature comfortable will allow your body to pump blood to your extremities. Wearing layers will allow you to keep warm outside without overheating inside.

You may also want to look into compression gear for problematic joints. Compression tights can support blood flow and provide structural support that can help ease aching during cold weather. Finally, consider stretching and gently massaging your muscles. This will help your muscles relax and put less stress on your joints.

Changing how you exercise

You may stop your exercise routine during winter, especially if you usually exercise outside. However, maintaining a moderate level of exercise can actually relieve joint pain by strengthening your muscles, promoting blood flow, and preventing winter weight gain.

You may want to move your exercise inside, and you may also want to extend your warm-up and cool-down periods, as your body will generally be starting from a lower overall temperature than it would in the summer.

Additionally, you may want to incorporate more core training into your exercise routine. Core training involves working out your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and the muscles around your pelvis. The extra stability from core training can help you maintain balance on slippery sidewalks and put less stress on your joints.

Ask the experts for help

If you’re susceptible to winter joint pain, you may need more targeted help than general lifestyle changes can provide. Our team at In Touch NYC Physical Therapy is available to help create a therapeutic exercise routine that will minimize your joint pain during the cold winter months. We can also provide physical therapy for your current aches and pains. Together we can make winter a more enjoyable season.

 

To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with In Touch NYC Physical Therapy today.

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