Do Joint and Muscle Aches get Worse in the Cold?


Kathy Mitchell, Catholic Pilgrimage Philippines | Joint pain is commonly known as arthritis. It is the discomfort that occurs where two or more bones meet, i.e., the meeting of the bones forming the joint.

It can be severe or just mild such that one feels it only periodically and just as soreness.

Severe joint pain can be so acute that it causes immobility to the affected limb. Most arthritis patients swear that the pain gets worse during winter. Researchers have often differed over the relationship between joint pain and winter.

Some argue for the case of there being a relationship while others do not think that joint pain is affected by winter. The possible explanations for the pain during winter are explained below:

  • Changes in barometric pressure

This does not occur during the winter season but happens just before the onset of the winter. Just before the beginning of winter, there is a drop in barometric pressure.

This decrease in barometric pressure lessens the weight of the air pushing against the body. The reduction, in turn, causes the tissues to expand.

The expanded tissue is the cause of problems since it puts pressure on the joint. This is felt as joint pain. The most affected joint by the drop in barometric pressure is the knee joint.

  • Less activity hindering synovial fluid production

Joints are moving parts. As with any moving parts, such as those in machines, lubrication is essential for the joints to work well.

The lubrication fluid in a human body’s joints known as synovial fluid. Synovial fluid production is at its optimum when one is young.

However, as one age, the joints have to be stimulated to produce this all-important fluid. The stimulation is through activity that causes movement in the joints. During winter, most people are inactive and move less.

This inactivity hinders the production of synovial fluid hence causing the joints to have no or little lubrication. This, therefore, affects the joint’s working that results in pain.

Indoor exercise activities can help prevent pain caused by this factor.

  • Reduced exercise during the winter period

Exercise is known to relieve arthritis joint pain. Apart from the normal movement, a little bike riding or hitting the gym can help relieve some pain. During winter, most people are holed up in their houses.

The outdoor exercise activities are all reduced while some even reduce the indoors training activities.

Therefore, the very activity that was alleviating the pain is cut off. Naturally, the patient experiences more pain during this winter season.

Typical indoor activities such as handling household chores and using the stairs instead of the lifts can be applied in the place of outdoor exercise.

  • Decreased blood flow to joints

When it is cold, the body looks for ways to avoid losing heat. One of these ways is through regulating the blood circulation within the body.

The body concentrates blood supply to the vital organs such as the heart and lungs while cutting supply to extremities such as the legs and hands.

The result of this is that the joints in these extremities feel tight and stiff which causes a sensation of pain for people who have arthritis. This type of arthritis referred to as Reynaud’s arthritis.

  • The flu and rheumatoid arthritis

People are susceptible to catching the flu during the winter period. Reactive rheumatoid arthritis can occur after bouts of viral infection such as the flu.

This is because its immune system attacks the body’s joints. The result of this is painful swollen joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis can, however, be relieved by taking Flexoplex which is pain relief medication meant for rheumatoid arthritis.

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Arthritis or joint pain can be a real bother. Therefore, arthritic patients must obviously dread the winter season if all it brings for them increased pain.

The factors behind this increased pain can associate with reduced exercise, reduced barometric pressure, decreased blood flow to the joints, reduced synovial fluid production, and rheumatoid arthritis brought about by the flu contracted in the winter period.

All is, however, not lost since pain relief medication and increased movement can help to alleviate some of this pain.

Understanding the causes also helps the sufferers to come up with better ways of dealing with the pain.

Author Bio:

Kathy Mitchell is a Travel & Beauty Blogger. She likes to Go Out with her Friends, Travel, Swim and Practice Yoga. In her free time, you can find Kathy curled up Reading her Favorite Novel, or Writing in her Journal. She is also a PR for Joint Health Magazine. To know more about her follow her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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