Does Cold Weather Cause Joint Pain?

Winter has arrived and you’ve probably taken out those woollen sweaters and mufflers to keep you warm. This weather doesn’t only bring the cold with it but also the fear of joint pain. It has been long believed that cold weather is the cause of joint pain, but is it really?


Many, if not all victims of joint pain, have pointed fingers at the cold harsh weather for being the culprit. Studies, however, suggest that it has more to do with barometric or atmospheric pressure. A drop in atmospheric pressure during the winters is known to cause joints to swell. This swelling is likely caused because of reduced air pressure against the muscles that causes tissues to expand, putting a strain on joints, and causing pain and limited mobility.


There are a number of conditions, other than atmospheric pressure, that cause joint pain. These include arthritis, osteoarthritis (wearing down of joint bone tissue), rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints), and sprains, amongst others.

 

Can You Get Rid of Joint Pain?

 

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There are different ways to get rid of joint pain. Some obviously consult an Orthopaedic doctor or a Rheumatologist, while some others opt for home remedies like mind-body exercises (ancient Chinese form called Tai Chi), heat-cold therapy where you wrap a cold pack around a heating pad on the weak knee, applying herbal ointments and even ginger extracts.


When you have joint problems, exercising can get challenging because of the pain. Therefore, an orthopaedic doctor will suggest you follow a set of low impact exercises to break the stiffness in your body and also lose weight. People with a high body mass index do tend to suffer from joint problems due to the strain from the body weight.


In addition to mineral supplements, you will also be asked to eat healthy. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, sardines, soybeans, canola oil, or flaxseeds can help in curbing the inflammation caused by joint pain. Foods rich in Vitamin K (green leafy vegetables, fish, meat, eggs) can help soothe joint pain. Vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and, guavas can help in halting the loss of cartilage (the connective tissue joining bones in the elbows, knees and ankles).


Refined grains (maida) and canola oil specifically have inflammatory effects. Hence, avoiding them would be in your best interest. Meditation techniques could be incorporated to combat the pain accompanied with stiffness in joints.


Is Joint Pain Preventable?

 

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One of the many fears of growing old is the lack of mobility. Joint pain is known to increase as you age. What better way to prevent joint problems than to keep your joints healthy?

Keeping yourself active is the number one rule for preventing stiffness in joints. Building your muscles enough to stay fit can tremendously help in maintaining healthy joints. If it gets too cold for outdoor exercises, you can always find ways to exercise indoors. Squats, push-ups, and step-ups can really get you active while keeping your joints lubricated throughout the season. Consult your doctor for suggestions on exercises customized to your fitness goals.


For women, stiletto heels can be a real eye-catcher, but these have known to put stress on your knees and feet, ultimately leading to osteoarthritis. Figure out different ways to put your neck at ease while working long hours in front of the computer screen. Positioning your screen at eye-level and doing neck exercises can help a great deal.


If you sit for too long, take a break every 30 minutes to get up and walk a while. Do the reverse if you have been standing too long. Exercise your wrists and try not to over-burden your wrist muscles by lifting heavy objects. Spread the load of heavy lifting by using your strongest joints and muscles like those in your palms or arms. Also, while carrying heavy objects, make sure to hold them close to your body to spread the weight and reduce the load on your joints. Improving your fitness goals is a sure way to increase your chances ageing gracefully. So, this winter, live free from joint-pains by keeping your joints healthy.

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