Can the cold and wet affect your joints?
Up to 62% of osteoarthritis sufferers believe that the weather being too wet or too cold affects their joints. This is a lot of people! In fact, 8.5 million people in the UK suffer from joint pain as a result of osteoarthritis, with the knee being the most common joint (1 in 5 adults over 45) followed by the hip (1 in 9 adults).
However, research shows little correlation with the weather and increased joint pain…
One study by Telfer and Obradovich in 2017 looked at Google search rates to see if there was an increase in searches for arthritic pain at certain times of the year. They found that colder temperatures had no significant increase search rates, and instead found that activity increased for warmer temperatures up to 25 - 30 degrees Celsius.
Another questionnaire-based study carried out by Timmermans et al. in 2015 showed that most people with osteoarthritis reported to be sensitive to wet and/or cold weather. It also showed that those in a wet and cold climate reported lower pain levels than those in a wet and warm or warm and dry climate…
Bad weather forces us to stay indoors more and move around less – as a result, we sit around for longer and this inactivity can aggravate our joints.
Equally, if the weather affects your mood can this have an effect on your joint pain?
There are many studies that link negative emotions to higher levels of increased pain in osteoarthritis. We all get fed up when it rains for days on end and stays darker for longer in the winter. So it would make sense that those who report themselves as being weather sensitive feel more pain at this time of year.
So how can you reduce joint pain in the cold and damp weather?
- Keep warm! Take hot baths, drink hot drinks and use hot water bottles
- Keep your body moving – don’t sit down for longer than 20 minutes without getting up and moving around
- Exercise – undergo exercises that gently move the joints to keep the synovial fluid moving, get the blood flowing, and use those big muscles groups. This will help keep the body warm and lubricated
- Take vitamin D – in the winter the sun is at the wrong angle in the sky to help you absorb this vital vitamin which helps with muscle movement, communication between nerves, and reduce inflammation
- Osteopathic treatment – we can help ease those sore joints and relax the tension in the muscles surrounding the joints. We will also help to stretch the shortened muscles that occur as a result of osteoarthritis. Many of our osteopaths use acupuncture which helps reduce pain and reduce muscle tone so the affected joint has a better range of movement
For advice or to arrange an appointment call our practice on 01722 512 043 or book online by clicking here.