As the summer passes and the winter steps in, many of you would have noticed your pain level increases in cold weather. Sometimes even a slight weather change can result in a flaring pain in joints you might even wonder if your joints and bones have started predicting the weather! Though it may sound a bit illogical to relate pain with the weather, a research suggests that over 67% of people with chronic pain reported having increased pain levels in cold, damp weather. It is more common for Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lower backache, neck pain and other chronic pains to have heightened levels of aches during chilly weather.
Why your pain increases in cold weather?
Though studies have shown mixed results, there are various theories which claim that your body aches can vary with the cold weather.
When you have a fractured bone or sprains your body may pick up pain chemicals which in turn signal the brain thinking that there is an impending danger. During winters having a recently healed bone or healing, bones make you sense more pain signals as your nerves become more sensitive. In such cases having pain already can cause more pain.
Pain in joints
During cold weather your muscles tighten and constrict the blood vessels which pulls the nerves at the end, this act is carried out by your body as heat conserving mechanism. When your muscle tightens and the nerves shrink, a sudden activity can cause inflammation around your joints and make it painful.
At winter you feel like hibernating on a couch all day which makes you participate in less physical activities. This becomes a least favorable condition for arthritis and osteoarthritis as you are expected do lots of physical activity to relieve pain.
Temperature drop and neck pain
Pain in the neck and shoulders are more common among the winter. You may experience a slight discomfort, niggles in the back of your joints stiffen as your muscle loses flexibility. Also when the barometric pressure drops, the changes stimulate the nerve endings, this inflames the tissues around the joints and flare up the pain.
What can you do to minimize your pain?
- Wear several layers of clothing than just one thick single layer of dress
- To relieve pain use safety hot packs or soak a towel in hot water and place it over your neck, back or shoulders
- Avoid inappropriate posture that can restrict blood flow to your body. Usually, postures like curling up, hunching and sloppy postures can result in muscle stiffness and restrict blood flow
- Follow a routine of 15 minutes’ walk daily that loosen your muscle and keep you active all day. If you don’t feel like going out of the house, then do workouts on the treadmill while watching TV or a movie
- Bath in hot water as it can help soothe your pain additionally making you less sensitive to weather changes
- Try to wear boots and shoes that can tolerate cold and make sure you keep your toes warmer