Joint Pains and Cold Weather

Joint Pains and Cold Weather

Many people feel that the joint pains increases during colder climates and many wonder if such a thought is even true. This is true that climate related pains do happen.
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints which manifests itself as pain , swelling and decreased usability of the joint. There are many types of arthritis but broadly Osteoarthritis is due to degeneration of the cartilage in joints commonly due to wear and tear. This is normally not weather dependent but many individuals who suffer from osteoarthritis do feel more pain during winter. Though the exact cause is not known, various theories are put forward.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where there is overgrowth of the membrane covering the joints which destroys the cartilage.The cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is not known exactly, but it is known to cause multiple joint pains and swelling, more in mornings and increases during the colder climates.

Why does the pain increase?
Though the reasons for the pain is not very clear, few theories have been proposed to explain it.
During colder climate the muscles, tendons and ligaments tend to be stiffer and so there is biomechanically more pressure in the joints leading to more pain.
In extremely cold climates another theory is that the oily fluid in inside the joint (synovial fluid) becomes more thicker and that causes less lubrication and this may lead to pain.
Vitamin D has been found to be important in joint health in the recent times and we know that sun exposure is required for the body to synthesise Vitamin D. In winter when sun does not come out a lot and also when skin is covered fully, vitamin D production is reduced. This can lead to bone and joint weakening and pain.

How can one handle this ?
You can alleviate this pain easily by stretching and warm up exercises once you get up from bed.
If you live in cold climatic conditions wear warm clothing all the times covering the extremities well. Knee-caps or sleeves can be worn to reduce the cold.
Vitamin D supplements may be necessary in winter to avoid joint pain.

Inspite of taking precautions if the joint pain gets bad then it is advisable to seek medical advise.