- David Price
Cold weather making you feel like Tin Man ?
Suddenly the weather has become a lot colder, wet and depressing. However, don’t know about you ? Although I am only in my 50’s, suddenly every weight bearing joint in my body has started to ache and labour like a Morris Marina !
“So why does every joint feel so bad, surely its not arthritis although it could be, I keep asking myself why did I play so much Rugby or run so much, should I book in for both knee and hip replacements.”
Well if these questions feel familiar, don’t worry its that time of the year when the weather has a dramatic effect on our bodies.
So why do we feel more pain when its colder or damp outside ? There are a number of suggestions, but many come back to the barometric pressure associated with low pressure is mainly to blame, but there are many factors to consider which has “outfoxed” many scientists as to the exact reason.
Changes in barometric pressure may make your tendons, muscles, and any scar tissue expand and contract, and that can create pain in joints affected by arthritis.
Low temperatures can also make the fluid inside joints thicker, so they just naturally feel stiffer. Have you noticed that you feel stiffer after sitting all morning ?
You might also feel more pain when the weather keeps you from moving around as much as you typically do. People tend to stay indoors and lounge around more when it’s cold and rainy outside, and inactive joints can will become stiffer.
Certainly, when its nice and warm outside joints feel good and you become active.
What Kind of Weather?
Several studies have tried to pinpoint the kind of weather changes that affect joint pain, but the findings are all over the map. Both cooler weather and also humid weather seem to be the cause. Arthritis seems to be affected by drops of 10 degrees, although as usual it's totally personal !
How to Ease Weather-Related Joint Pain
Don’t worry you don’t have to move to a different continent, although it would be nice to be in the warm sunshine, there is still plenty you can do at home to manage your pain.
When temperatures drop, try to keep yourself warm.
Dress in layers during the day (including gloves and warm socks), use an electric blanket at night if need be.
Try wearing a sleeve or neoprene cuff on knee joints during cooler weather to keep the joint nice and warm.
Try a paraffin bath. It’s a small machine that melts paraffin wax. You dip your hands and feet in, and then you let the wax harden on your skin. Your body absorbs the heat, which may soothe achy joints. You can also use a heating pad on sore spots.
Keep a healthy weight and stay active, if you can reduce a little that makes a big difference. Remember the force on your knee is 2 to 3 times your body weight when you walk.
Try exercise that’s gentle on the joints, like yoga or swimming. That will help you build up muscle and bone strength. If you go outside to exercise, limber up first with some gentle stretches.
Try not too sit for too long – try getting up at least every 45 mins.
Make sure you take care of your health in general, with good nutrition and getting enough sleep.
Invest in a programmable thermostat at home so you can keep your house at a comfortable constant temperature, you might save some money too ! There are a number of reasonably priced controllers on the market.
Try having a hot bath with bath salts.
Try having a massage from time to time.
Cold damp weather has been the cause of aching joints since the start of time, its really due to the dark cold depressing nights that we probably tend to do less and feel sleepy because its dark outside. However, if you can do some body management eat healthily and keep your weight down your joints are going to love you. Just think 1kg of body weight loss is 3kg of less force on your knees.
It’s definitely more difficult to get out and about when the weather’s not at it’s best.. I seem to have so many aches and pains these days that I’m not sure if they are weather related or just general wear and tear. Either way , I tend to wear some type of supporting bandage on my knee or ankle, not sure if they help or it’s just psychosomatic..
The cold weather has a dramatic effect on my Rugby knee which is all bone and no cartilage, if I win the lottery I am moving somewhere warm all year round ! Must admit I have been wearing more clothes than before in cold weather as I do feel the cold and have been wearing a sock on my knee which has helped, although it does get a bit itchy ! I need to get on the bike trainer as well to get the fluid moving in my knee too – its on my list for next week !