Do you want to know what causes joint pain in cold weather? Refer to this article as orthopaedic doctors explain the causes and prevention.
Have you experienced or seen someone in your family complaining of joint pain during winters? This is a very common thing especially with older adults or people who have joint-related issues. Weak joints, injured joints, arthritis, etc. are some common causes behind painful joints in the cold season. But that is not all. Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Debashish Chanda, Department of Orthopaedics, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon about cold weather joint pain. He explained all the possible causes behind this and added some preventive measures to be taken to ease the pain.
What is joint pain?
Joint pain can be referred to as discomfort, aches, and soreness in any of the body’s joints leading to arthritis. Arthritis is a common phenomenon and can be of multiple types. The most common type is osteoarthritis which occurs due to wear and tear of joints and commonly affects knees, hips and the lower back. The other kind is rheumatoid arthritis which can cause pain and damage to the overall body.
Why Cold Weather Affects Joint Pain?
Joint pain can arise at any time irrespective of the season but it is observed that it is more prevalent in the cold season or when the person is living in a colder climate. As per Dr. Debashish Chanda, during the winter season when the temperature is low, the muscles may begin to contract. The joints also face contraction and tighten a bit more leading to severe pain in the muscles. Another reason for joint pain is inadequate levels of vitamin D as in winters, usually, the body is not much exposed to sunlight. This leads to poor intake of vitamin D and as a result, one may experience pain in muscles and joints.
For osteoarthritis, which is most common in the knee joint, keep your weight under control is very critical. One should do regular exercise, which involves knee movements while in a sitting or standing position. Regular walking also helps in making the joints mobile. The use of cushion shoes is recommended as it gives an extra shock absorber to the joint, mainly if suffering from knee, ankle or hip pain. Lubrication agents that are easily available in the market can also be taken after consulting a doctor.
Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder and a patient might have to undergo tests to examine the root cause. Home remedies may provide temporary relief, however definitive medical treatment might be needed in severe cases. Several patients with this kind of inflammatory arthritis take over-the-counter available pain medication or steroids without proper consultation, which often leads to kidney or liver failures and even joint deformities. These are the complications that can be prevented if the patient is examined by the doctor in time.
Preventive Measures To Ease Joint Pain During Winters
While you cannot stop the painful sensation, you can work in the direction to prevent it. If you take note of the below-mentioned pointers, you can easily prevent joint pain in cold weather. Here are some suggestions by Dr. Debashish Chanda.
- Maintain a healthy weight- Eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining a balanced weight as excess weight can put stress on joints. You can consider this dietitian-verified diet plan for weight loss or try other healthy means of weight loss. Do not attempt crash dieting as it would increase the trouble.
- Exercise regularly- Exercise keeps joints flexible hence staying active becomes necessary. Consult a fitness expert for safe exercises to do with joint pain.
- Caring for joints- Use stronger, larger joints as levers when opening doors, using several joints to spread the weight of an object such as using a backpack
- Keep yourself warm- Exposing oneself to cold weather can make the joint pain worse. It is imperative to wear multiple warm layers when stepping outside
Simple home remedies to manage joint pains
- Use icepack on the affected area 3-4 times for 10 minutes
- Drink turmeric or warm milk before bed to reduce joint pain
- Ghee helps in soothing inflammation and lubricates joints
- Over-the-counter pain ointments can also help if you need instant aid to soothe joint pain
When to consult a doctor?
People might avoid consulting a doctor due to the commonality of the issue however, it is important to report to a doctor immediately if you have severe joint pains to avoid further complications. The common signs and symptoms to look out for are stiffness, tenderness, bone spurs, swelling in joints and fatigue.
Joint pain is a common issue but winters or cold weather makes it awful for some. If you are also someone who experience immense pain in joints at low temperature, you must take preventive measures. If the pain becomes unbearable despite trying home remedies and other options, you can consult a doctor for relief. Never ignore the pain as it might be a symptom of an underlying disease.
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