Why is arthritis worse when the weather is cold?

Cold weather is fast approaching – or did you already know that because your joints have started to ache more than usual, like they do every fall? Some may think it’s an old wives’ tale that cold weather makes arthritis worse, but there is scientific research to back this up. So why do joints feel worse in the cold, and what can you do about it? 

How can the weather affect joints?

Barometric pressure is a measure of the air around you and how much force it is applying to your body. A high barometric pressure indicates good weather and a low pressure means bad weather may be on the way. Changes in barometric pressure can affect us in many different ways you may not know about, such as causing migraines, nausea, and a swelling of the joints. When barometric pressure drops, tissues expand, which puts pressure on the joints. This can be even worse if the temperature falls, which can cause the fluids in the joint to thicken up. 

What can I do when my arthritis gets worse?

One of the best things you can do if you feel your arthritis acting up is to exercise (an exercise routine that you do consistently is always a good idea, but especially so if you have arthritis!). Lack of exercise can cause joints to become even more stiff and painful, and it can cause a decrease in strength and flexibility. If you can’t take your usual walk around the block because of the cold, find other ways to be active, such as walking around the mall, keeping up with your household chores, taking a yoga or swimming class, or even doing some stretches or other simple exercises while watching television or listening to your favorite radio show. 

And of course, don’t underestimate how important it is to keep yourself warm when you go outside – get yourself some warm gloves, boots, and a hat. 

If your arthritis is so bad that simple tips aren’t helping anymore, Specialty Orthopaedics in Harrison, New York, can help. Call Specialty Orthopaedics today for help with painful joints, at 914-686-0111!

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