Brrr, It's Cold Outside -- Is Your Arthritis Feeling Worse?

Does your arthritis always seem to act up more when a storm is approaching or on bitter winter days? Have you always wondered if this is a real phenomenon or if it's just a figment of your imagination?  Well, the truth is that weather can adversely affect people with arthritis in a few different ways.

Cold, for example, can cause your muscles, ligaments, and tendons to stiffen and affect your arthritic joints, according to Also, cold weather will also cause the nerves in your limbs to constrict. Unfortunately, this increase in nerve activity could lead to you feeling more joint pain.

Studies have also shown that changes in barometric pressure can also cause more pain for arthritis sufferers. So if a storm is approaching and the barometric pressure starts to fall, your joints may start to ache. It is believed that the change in pressure combined with cooler temperatures can cause tissues to swell, which in turn will put pressure on your nerves. But these studies have also shown that once a cold or warm front has arrived and become stationary, its effects on your joints will start to dissipate.

So what should you do if you notice that your joints are giving you fits when the weather turns cold or rainy? Here are a few tips for lessening the effects of cold, damp weather on your arthritic joints:

  • Always warm up before heading out into the cold to exercise. That will loosen up your muscles and ligaments.
  • Dress warmly to protect yourself against dampness and the cold. The more chilled you become, the more likely you will be to experience pain. 
  • Continue to exercise. When it's cold and damp outdoors, it can be hard to get motivated to go outside and exercise. However, a decrease in activity can lead to more joint pain.

You should also speak with a doctor experienced in arthritis pain if you have not already consulted with one or if your sensitivity seems to have increased recently. A physician may prescribe pain medications and a special Vitamin D supplement. Studies have shown that low Vitamin D levels can increase your sensitivity to arthritis pain. Also, certain types of arthritis can lead to other serious health issues, and these may require immediate treatment and attention. In some cases, a physician will also create a treatment plan that will specifically deal with these shifts in the weather.

Contact a medical office like Arthritis Associates of Kingsport for more information and assistance. 

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