We’re in the throes of winter and it’s cold. According to recent research, you’re not going crazy. The chilly temperatures actually can worsen any pre-existing pain in the joints and bones.
A study by researchers at Tufts University in Boston found evidence that the weather really can cause discomfort for those with arthritis and other kinds of joint pain. The study showed that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded to an incremental increase in joint pain.
More evidence is building that the real culprit might be the barometer reading. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when the barometric pressure drops, tissues in joints can swell, pushing them against muscles and nerves in the area and causing pain. A senior meteorologist with AccuWeather blames the phenomenon on wild swings in pressure, which we frequently experience in the wintertime.
To offer some relief, try these tips:
- Eat more veggies – It is essential for those suffering from joint and knee pain to include foods rich in vitamins K, D and C (like oranges, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes) in their diet. They play an important role in the production of cartilage and help the body absorb calcium, thereby strengthening the bones.
- Drink hot tea – Warm beverages can help keep your body warm, and keeping your body warm will help alleviate joint pain. So fill up a mug of hot chocolate or hot tea, as long as it’s decaf – excess caffeine can weaken your bones, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
- Aim for daily exercise – Not only does it help maintain a healthy weight (and take extra pressure off your joints), but it also increases flexibility and strengthens muscles that support the knee. Did you know that your knees experience roughly three to four times your body weight when you walk?
- Take a warm bath – They are beneficial in keeping your joints warm and help relieve the stiffness and pain of arthritis and other conditions such as fibromyalgia.
- Soak up some sun – The sun supplies you with essential vitamin D, which helps with strengthening of the bones and other bodily functions. Catch some early morning or late afternoon sun, when the UV rays aren’t as strong and damaging. It will not only warm you up, but also provide you with much-needed nutrients.
- Maintain good posture – One of the many reasons for joint pain is bad posture at work or while lifting heavy things. And during the winter, the chance of pain in the joints increases. Be careful performing chores such as shoveling and avoid swift movements to prevent further injury.