Your joints play a vital role in your body. They form the connection between your bones, manage your movement and support your weight. Therefore, when your joints struggle to perform as they should, you start to experience pain.
This pain can be extremely debilitating, and for some it affects their ability to do daily activities. For most people this pain seems to intensify in winter.
If you’re one of those people that suffers more in winter, keep reading!
In this post we outline 3 reasons why your joint pain worsens in winter.
So, what changes in winter?
- Temperature Change
Whilst joint pain is not simply a seasonal problem, the frosty temperatures we face in winter often cause the pain in our joints to intensify. As temperatures drop, our bodies react by restricting the blood flow to our joints.
This is because attention is placed on supporting fundamental organs such as the heart and lungs. These organs need extra protection during cold temperatures. This restriction of blood flow causes our joints to ache and feel tender.
Furthermore, Dr Wright notes: “The soft tissues around the joints are less pliable when cold, so joints feel tight and stiff, resulting in more pain.”
For those with arthritis, a condition experienced by 10 million of us in the UK alone, this stiffens joints that are already tight and inflamed. So this can increase the pain usually felt with your condition.
2. Lack of Exercise
Another indirect result of winter weather is often a lack of exercise. The shortened days bring around dark mornings and evenings.
This change, coupled with the drop in temperature make exercise seem much less appealing. Especially for those of us who already struggle to find the motivation on a sunny day!
Lack of exercise, especially for those who experience problems such as arthritis, causes the joints to seize up and stiffen. This reduction in mobility and tightening of the joints leads to further pain.
Similarly, exercise is required to strengthen our muscles. And weak muscles surrounding the joints offer little protection.
As tempting as it may be to curl up on your sofa on a rainy day, doing just 30 minutes of light exercise can boost your blood circulation, flex your joints and improve your mood.
Furthermore, keeping fit helps us to maintain a healthy weight, easing the pressure placed on our joints that support our bodies. So, don’t be a couch potato this winter!
3. Lack of Vitamin D
The darker days that winter brings around also means a lack of sun exposure, reducing the amount of Vitamin D absorbed by our bodies. Vitamin D supports your muscle, bone and cartilage function.
Therefore a lack of it can impact upon your joints, leaving them weaker and more susceptible to pain.
As the sun shines less in the UK, this unfortunately means for most of us in the UK our main source of Vitamin D comes from our food intake.
Therefore, a healthy, vitamin-rich diet becomes even more important during the winter months.
Can Joint Pain be Treated?
There are many treatments out there to ease and suppress your pain, so don’t suffer in silence! From prescribed medicines, to massage therapy and tailored exercises, there are a variety of treatments to ease pain of varying severity.
For further information, we have asked the pharmacist to explain the most effective ways to relieve joint pain.
Hopefully this post has clearly described why our joints become more painful during the winter months. Despite the weather,it is essential to maintain a healthy diet and fitness regime in order to boost your immune system and support the function of your bones. Our joints play a vital role within our body and it is important to keep them healthy!
Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions.