Hips And Knees Achy In Colder Weather Tips To Keep Joints Moving Smoothly
Nauman Akhtar, MD, is board certified in orthopaedic surgery. He has a special interest in arthritis and joint replacement and serves as Medical Director of the Inova Loudoun Hospital Joint Replacement Program.
If your knees act up in winter weather or your achy hip predicts rainstorms, its not a figment of your imagination. Changes in temperature and barometric pressure can indeed affect the way your joints function and feel.
In people with arthritis or injured joints, pain and stiffness along with cold weather or changes in barometric pressure are common. People who have had joint replacements often expect those symptoms to disappear and can be surprised when they dont. Replacement joints are not usually painful when the temperature drops, but stiffness and increased sensitivity are not uncommon.
Though not ideal, these sensations are normal. With some simple steps, you can keep your joints moving smoothly without having to book a tropical vacation.
Aching Joints: Should You See a Specialist?
Winter or summer, you shouldnt have to live with joint pain. If discomfort and stiffness are affecting your daily life or preventing you from engaging in the activities you love, we can help.
We treat joint pain in a variety of ways, starting with conservative options such as anti-inflammatory medicines, injections, braces or physical therapy. If those options arent cutting it, joint replacement surgeries can provide relief.
Why Do My Knees Hurt When The Weather Changes
Low barometric pressure causes your tissues to swell and irritate sensitive nerves in your body. It creates pain in your joints by causing your muscles, tendons, and scar tissue to contract and expand.
People who experience joint pain, stiffness, and aches on rainy or cold days are more likely to report it. The amount of rain falls as a result of a drop in barometric pressure, which is a measure of air mass. Low barometrometer pressure can cause tissues to swell and irritate nerves. When the weather cools off, its best to keep yourself warm. Furthermore, low temperatures can thicken the fluid in your joints, causing them to feel stiff and more sensitive. If you are feeling down psychologically, you are more likely to feel physically down. When you are sad or depressed, you may be more likely to believe in pain.
How Changes In The Barometer Affect Joint Pain
Stories about people being able to predict weather changes depending on their knee pain arent complete fiction. If you suffer from arthritis, there is a good chance you can feel a storm coming by the increase in your joint pain. There does appear to be a scientific basis for this phenomenon.
In a study conducted on 712 people with osteoarthritis, 469 people reported their joint pain to be weather sensitive. Other studies conducted on people with rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated similar results. Interestingly, it is the fluctuation in the barometer that affect joint pain and not the low barometric pressure itself. The general consensus is the onset of cold and damp weather is the worst for aggravating joint pain, but once the weather has settled in, the painful joint symptoms tend to go away or become less severe.
Here are some theories as to how changes in the barometer affect joint pain:
To reduce weather related joint pain, try to dress appropriately with warm clothing, take warm showers to soothe aching joints, take an occasional pain pill as recommended by your doctor, and stay active by exercising regularly, but remember to warm up properly before engaging in vigorous activity. Visit your doctor or an orthopedic specialist for joint pain that continues even after trying these recommendations.
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Arthritis And Cold Weathe
Cold weather can exacerbate arthritis, which is not caused by it. Cold weather can cause a variety of problems, including decreased blood flow and muscle spasms, all of which make arthritis more severe. In addition, changes in barometric pressure during a cold front can cause the tendons, muscles, bones, and scar tissues to contract and expand, increasing the pain felt by the joints that are damaged.
Humidity May Play A Similar Role
It’s not barometric pressure alone that could be causing your joint pain when a storm approaches, however: the increased humidity in the air may also contribute.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology reviewed data from 810 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis between the ages of 65 and 85. The study’s authors found a significant increase in reports of joint pain during periods of increased humidityespecially in conjunction with cold weather.
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Q How Much Glucosamine Do I Need
A. Arthritis is a very common problem among the Americans. According to the statistics, around 22.7% of the American adults are diagnosed with some forms of arthritis, such as gout, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others..
Can Knee Pain Be Weather Related
If your grandmother had already felt the effects of a storm, she might have guessed a storm was on the way. If youve ever felt your own joints ache while outside, you know how cold it can get outside. Changes in weather can lead to joint pain flare-ups, and doctors frequently believe that cold, rainy days are more likely to cause joint pain in patients.
There is a long-standing belief that arthritis pain is caused by weather. Researchers have found no correlation between rainy weather and joint or back pain. Its possible that barometric pressure, weather changes, or humidity are the most important factors when it comes to rain or shine. There is little reason to believe a link exists if, in fact, there is no link at all. There is no doubt that it is difficult to discount it when so many people notice it. I continue to believe that there is insufficient evidence to justify it, unless I see even more compelling evidence. There are only a few discoveries that will transform the medical paradigm in the future, and yesterdays medical myth is only the tip of the spear.
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What Should You Do About Your Hip And Knee Pain
It would be rare for hip or knee pain only to occur when the weather is bad, said Beaumont orthopedic specialist James Bookout, M.D.But any pain that occurs more than once in a while is likely worth bringing up to your physician. Your doctor will work with you to determine what pain relief option is best for you.
Thickening Of Joint Fluid
Synovial fluid is the shock-absorbing fluid inside the joint. Synovial fluid is normally the consistency of an egg white to allow for proper and unencumbered joint movement. However, in colder temperatures synovial fluid thickens, which impedes its ability to flow freely. As a result, the joints can become stiff or creaky.
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Can You Prevent Arthritis Flare
Anyone with arthritis will tell you that planning ahead to avoid flare-ups is key. According to the Arthritis Foundation, a solid prevention plan is one of the best ways to manage your arthritis and avoid flare-ups.
People with weather-sensitive arthritis cant control the weather, but they can learn to prepare better for certain weather conditions and the symptoms that may accompany those changes. Here are a few things to consider:
- Keep an eye on weather conditions for the upcoming days and weeks in your area, if keeping tabs on the forecast feels genuinely helpful to you.
- Try to avoid being in harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, for long periods of time.
- Dress in warm, dry clothing when the weather is cold.
- Dress in cool, loose clothing when the weather is hot and humid.
- Adjust the temperature inside your home to be neutral , neither too hot nor too cold.
Outside of planning around the weather, its also important to have a prevention plan for any other triggers that can lead to a flare-up in your symptoms. So, if youre someone whose arthritis is negatively affected by things such as infection, illness, overexertion, or even emotional stress, your plan might also include:
Staying Warm May Help
While there’s little you can do to control the weather, there are a number of things you can do to help limit your joint pain when it’s cold or rainy outside.
“Keep your muscles and joints warm and supple by wearing multiple layers when it’s cold outside, stay active by doing both aerobic exercises and stretches, and stay hydrated,” suggests Poston. For some great workout ideas, check out This 20-Minute Walking Workout to Get Fit and Burn Fat, Says Trainer.
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Keep An Eye On Weather Patterns
Make it a daily habit to check the forecast in your area. If you notice bad weather in the next few days, be prepared. For instance, the day before a storm you might not want to plan a lot of physical activity. Also, if your doctor agrees, it might be worth adjusting any medication you use for pain. This could take some experimenting again, with a doctors guidance.
Lets say you know a storm is coming. You might get the best results by taking more medication 24 to 48 hours before the change in weather. That way, your body is prepared before the barometric pressure begins to fall. This kind of preventative measure may take the edge off the pain before it gets much worse.
Is There A Connection Between Joint Pain And The Weather
Its going to rain today! I can tell because the pain in my joints tells me.
Does your body hurt when the weather changes? Can you feel that it is going to rain even before you hear the weather report? If so, you are not alone. Is there a scientific reason for this or is it just a myth that we all believe?
I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, so joint pain is not out of the norm, but I know that when it is rainy or cold, my joints will ache more than usual. I often get a debilitating headache when there are severe thunderstorms in the forecast. If you ask me, there is a connection between the pain and the weather, but research seems to be inconclusive.
A 2017 study suggests that there is no correlation between rainy days and joint or back pain. So why do my joints seem to hurt more when the weather is bad? A Harvard Health blog reports a minor correlation between the weather and pain, but it theorizes that barometric pressure or changes in the weather or humidity may be the causes.
According to Psychology Today, a drop in barometric pressure can impact our bodies in the following ways:
- Cold temperatures can lessen blood flow to the muscles, causing some stiffness.
- Being less active on bad weather days causes less blood flow to the muscles.
- Less blood flow means toxins from muscles are not being flushed as well.
- Seasonal depression can impact chronic pain.
So, what can we do about the pain? Here are some things that may help:
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How Changing Weather Causes Pain
Many think its due to higher humidity accompanied by falling barometric pressure the weight of air pressing on our planet and on us. Decreasing pressure means air presses less on our bodies. That allows tissues to swell slightly, and its possible the resulting enlargement of tissues irritates the joints.
Cooler temperatures dont help. Cold can make muscles, ligaments and joints stiffer and more painful.
When barometric pressure and temperature fall and humidity rises, patients will complain of more aches and pains, he says. Damp cold seems to exacerbate pain.
But Dr. Bolash also says its more the change in pressure, temperature and humidity that could trigger discomfort. Especially the speed at which these changes occur.
Reporting is also key here, as it may be the reason people conclude what appears to be a direct connection of weather to their specific type of pain. Some studies include data pointing to patients seeking care for certain types of pain during rainy weather.
Those with arthritis, neck pain or other types of musculoskeletal issues tend to report most weather-related pain, says Dr. Bolash. But weather doesnt appear to alter reporting connected to nerve pain conditions, like complex regional pain syndrome or neuropathy.
Ways To Minimize Weather
Whether or not researchers can prove that weather-related changes cause joint pain, youll want to experience relief if youre feeling joint pain on a cold or rainy day.
Try these strategies to ward off or reduce weather-related joint pain:
- Exercise regularly. Being physically active helps to strengthen your muscles and bones, which helps to take pressure off of your joints.
- Keep moving. Find ways to get your usual activity in, even if you cant walk around the block. Consider walking at the mall or using a treadmill.
- Stretch before moving. Do a few stretches before you do any physical activity. Youll warm up your muscles and improve your flexibility, which is good for your joints.
- Keep your weight in a healthy range. Lose weight if youre overweight, or maintain your current weight if its in the healthy range. Carrying around extra weight puts additional strain on your joints, including your knees and hips, which may make weather-related joint pain feel more intense.
- Use heat before activity and cold after. A heating pad may help to relax your muscles and loosen you up before activity and cold afterward can help with swelling and inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Medications like ibuprofen help to reduce pain and lower inflammation, which should help you to start feeling better.
- Try to maintain a positive outlook. Dont let a gray, miserable day bring down your mood. When you feel better emotionally, you may also feel better physically.
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Q What Causes Pain In The Finger Joints
A. Imagine your fingers aching every time you use them. That could be awful. You cannot push a key on your laptop, complete a message on your Android phone, hit those guitar chords, thoroughly and thoroughly clean your body or the plate you used last night..
How To Stop Joint Pain When It Rains
There is no definitive answer to this question as there are many possible causes of joint pain when it rains. However, some possible suggestions for alleviating joint pain when it rains include staying indoors as much as possible, wearing appropriate clothing and footwear to protect the joints, and using heat or cold therapy to help relieve pain. Additionally, over-the-counter or prescription medications may be recommended by a doctor to help manage joint pain.
There are no exceptions, and its not uncommon for you to suffer from pain when the weather changes. Researchers reviewed data from 2,658 adults over the course of 15 months in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the majority of the study participants, the weather and chronic pain are related. As the air temperature rises, it is possible that joint pain will develop as a result of the increased humidity. A 2015 study examined 810 people with rheumatoid arthritis and found that they had a lower risk of death. Similarly, a cold can cause a significant increase in pain for susceptible individuals. You can reduce your joint pain if it is cold or rainy outside by using these strategies.
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What Kind Of Knee Injuries Can Cause Severity
If the weather is cold, and your knees are not in perfect health , it can cause the following type of issues:
Knee Trauma: Cold season can affect the muscles that hold your knee joint. The surrounding muscles play an important role in supporting the joint from all sides. When these tissues are warm, they work and move with less effort.
In colder months, they have to work much harder to do the same tasks. The extra energy makes them tired and causes tissue mutilation. Hence, the patient experiences more agony compared to the summers.
Patellar Tendonitis: This condition is also called the jumpers knee in laymans language. It causes pain while climbing stairs or jumping.
Winters induce stiffness in the tendons and a decrease in circulation, thereby aggravating the injury. The ache spreads below the knee caps.
Runners Knee: This is directly related to an overuse of the joints. It is often experienced by sports persons or active joggers.
The rubbing of the kneecap against the thighs causes the running knee condition. The result is cartilage wear and tears. As the weather becomes cold, it makes the surrounding muscles of these joints stiffer, hence triggering the pain.
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Take It Seriously If Your Knees Hurt
All of our experts told us that it doesnt matter what the weather studies say. If you have knee pain, you need to respect the pain and do what it takes to make it better.
I take an ontological approach to my training, meaning that what is present is real for my athletes, says Bryant. If they feel pain, we have to prepare and deal with that reality. And they dont have to move to a warmer climate for that preparation.
The first thing you need to do if your knees hurt in bad weather is get them checked out, says Joshua Grahlman, PT, DPT, founder of Clutch PT in Manhattan. I spend as much time helping people get out of the patterns theyve created in compensating for their pain as I do on helping people with whats been causing their pain, he says.
“Younger, healthy people really shouldn’t be feeling air pressure changes in their joints,” Grahlman says. Usually, that happens when there’s already some arthritis in the joint. But there are many other reasons for knee pain, so it’s important to get the right diagnosis.
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