Cold Weather and Joint Pain
With winter right around the corner, is pain on your mind? Many who are dealing with arthritis note a spike in pain around the onset of winter. Some even say that the flare in their arthritic pain allows them to predict the weather. While the weather’s effects on arthritis have often been considered an old wives tale, orthopaedic research and first-hand experience from arthritis suffers lends credibility to the phenomenon.
The weather’s effect on arthritic pain is believed to be caused by:
- Changes in barometric pressure, which is believed to cause tendons and muscles to expand leading to painful inflammation.
- Decreased activity in the colder months leading to lower overall health, weight gain, and lack of strength and range of motion, all of which will exacerbate arthritic symptoms.
Common Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint. The painful inflammation occurs when the lubricating cartilage between the joint bones wears away, allowing for friction between the bone. This friction results in inflammation, pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility. The most common types of arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis - An autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack and wear down the synovium (joint lining) and joint cartilage.
- Osteoarthritis - Caused by “wear and tear” over time.
- Post-traumatic arthritis - A breakdown of cartilage caused by direct injury to a joint, such as a bad fall or hit in sports.