If you feel more aches and pains when the weather’s cold, or a storm is coming, you’re definitely not alone. Here’s why it happens:
First: Changes in atmospheric pressure. Our tendons, muscles, bones, joints, and scar tissues have different physical densities, so they expand and contract differently when it’s cold or damp. And studies in the American Journal of Medicine found that lower barometric pressure – which is what we experience before and during storms – is associated with increased pain.
Another reason we ache more in winter? The cold and damp keeps our joints from being properly lubricated. Every joint – including hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders – contain synovial fluid, which helps them move smoothly. But when it’s cold, that fluid can thicken, increasing friction during movement, which can make our joints feel stiffer.
So, how can you ease winter joint pain? Keep moving!
Sitting, lying, or standing in the same position for long periods lets your joints stiffen up, to the point where moving can be painful, at least at first. So, start with slow, easy movements – like bending and straightening your knees and elbows, rolling your shoulders, marching in place, and stretching. You can also take hot showers and use an electric blanket to keep your joints warm, supple, and less achy.