Thursday, May 23, 2024

Does Cold Weather Cause Arthritis

Practice Good Sleep Habits

Dr. Stephen Duncan answers a common question about cold weather and arthritis pain

Some people find that having fewer hours of daylight disrupts their sleep cycle, making them feel tired during the day.

For people with PsA, a lack of sleep can worsen chronic pain and other symptoms. This can affect their quality of life.

The following can help establish good sleep habits:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule.
  • Ensure the room is dark, quiet, and neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco before bedtime.
  • Limit or avoid screen time before bed and leave devices in another room, if possible.
  • Exercise each day, as this helps people sleep better at night.

Vitamin D is a hormone essential for maintaining healthy bones and skin. The body produces most of its vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but levels can fall during the winter months.

A looked into the relationship between vitamin D3 and PsA. People with PsA who had low vitamin D3 levels also had greater disease activity. Lower vitamin D levels were also associated with more severe skin lesions in people with psoriasis.

A 2015 review investigated the efficacy of vitamin D pills and topical vitamin D treatments for psoriasis. The researchers found that both types of vitamin D treatments could reduce symptoms.

Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish and fortified dairy products. A doctor may also recommend vitamin D supplements in some cases.

Why Is Arthritis Worse In The Winter

Jan 11, 2022Amy Paturel

If you suffer from arthritis, whether inflammatory or not, you’ve probably noticed your joints getting crankier as the weather turns colder. But why are arthritis symptoms worse during the winter?

“Our joints operate best in temperate weather,” says Dr. Mariko L. Ishimori, Interim Director at the Cedars-SinaiDivision of Rheumatology. “When the weather gets cooler, the synovial fluid that acts like motor oil in our joints becomes more like sludge.”

Some people are so sensitive to the weather that their aching joints act as a signal that a storm is coming.

Why Does The Cold Cause Pain And Stiffness

There is no one explanation for why dropping temperatures affect your joints. One theory relates to drops in barometric pressure, which cause tendons, muscles and the surrounding tissues to expand. Because of the confined space within the body, this can cause pain, especially in joints affected by arthritis.

Recommended Reading: What Can Help Arthritis In Hands

Do A Home Paraffin Wax Treatment

You may have seen these strange-looking treatments at nail salons and spas but they benefit more than just beauty. Paraffin is a type of wax that melts at a relatively low temperature, which allows you to dip your hands, forearms, feet, and lower legs into it without being burned. This may sound a little strange but it can really help reduce pain and swelling from arthritis, Dr. Osterman says. The wax coats your skin and as it dries it holds the heat in longer than a traditional foot soak or warm compress . Anything that uses heat can help reduce stiffness and pain, he says. Plus you could end up with softer, smoother skin.

Engage In Regular Physical Activity

Does Cold Weather Trigger Arthritis Symptoms? Care Advantage Virginia ...

Physical activity should not be ignored. Light exercise is crucial in order to maintain good health and prevent the body from becoming stiff.

Simple indoor exercises such as stretching, walking and yoga are enough for patients of arthritis.

Regular massage of the affected area helps to improve the blood flow and makes the immune system stronger and better during the winter season.

Also Check: What Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Lead To

Caring For Your Joints In The Winter

Whether or not there’s an identifiable reason you feel stiffer in the winter, there are plenty of steps to take to combat joint pain and increase your comfort:

  • Stay Active: Inactive joints become stiff joints. Find ways to get exercise in the winter. If the cold and snow make it too difficult indoors options might include gyms, fitness classes, home exercise equipment, indoor tracks, or even simple range-of-motion exercises that can be done at home.
  • Limber Up: If you’re moving outdoors, any time spent standing still might lead to stiff joints. Make sure to warm up for at least 5 minutes with light stretches or walking before any strenuous physical activity, including chores like snow shoveling. Keep moving during breaks, and do a proper cool-down after physical activity.
  • Keep Warm: Wear proper winter clothing. Utilize heat therapy options like heating pads, heating packs, or even just a warm shower or bath. Consider thermal compression gloves to warm your extremities and reduce swelling from arthritis.
  • Get Your Vitamin D: Your biggest resource for Vitamin D is sunlight, which may be lacking in winter, especially as lower levels of the vitamin are associated with rheumatic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Get 600 IU of Vitamin D a day from fatty fish like tuna, swordfish, and mackerel, or fortified products like milk, breakfast cereal, and orange juice.
  • The Basics Of Arthritis

    Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. The symptoms of arthritis include stiffness and joint pain.

    There are many types of arthritis. The two most common types are osteoarthritis , caused by repetitive movements, and rheumatoid arthritis , an autoimmune disease.

    There is no cure for arthritis, but treatment can reduce inflammation and relieve pain and stiffness.

    You probably know someone who swears they can predict the weather by their arthritis pain. You may even be one of these people.

    Theres plenty of anecdotal evidence about the relationship between arthritis symptoms and weather.

    Most people who believe their arthritis pain is affected by weather say they feel more pain in cold, rainy weather than in warm, dry weather.

    There is some research to support the arthritis-weather connection, but some studies fail to provide conclusive evidence.

    Also Check: How Does Psoriatic Arthritis Affect The Lungs

    Tips For Arthritis And Cold Weather

    Tip #1 When venturing outside its important to dress warmly, using layers to trap heat close to your body. Be sure to cover your head, hands and feet well because we tend to lose most of our body heat from those areas. Protective Gloves, like Protexgloves, are lightweight, cottony soft and provide light compression. They keep your hands warm without restricting hand and finger movement. Great to wear inside in a chilly house or office and outside under your winter gloves.

    Tip #2 Topical creams can also help protect against the loss of your bodys own natural warmth. Creams like Warm Skin® All Weather Guard Cream insulate and protect your skin from cold and moisture loss caused by weather conditions.

    Tip #3 When the weather prohibits adequate outdoor activities, turn inward and figure out how to exercise inside. Its key to maintain an active lifestyle throughout the year. If you are in the midst of a flare up, do what you can because its worse to not do anything at all. Check your local area for mall walkers programs, yoga classes, or aqua fitness classes at a nearby heated indoor pool. Look around your house or apartment and make the best use of your indoor space. Take the stairs when you can and maybe borrow or invest in a stationary exercise bike or a treadmill.

    Talk to your health care professional about other treatments like over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, acupuncture, massage, and supportive splints and braces that can be helpful.

    Low Barometric Pressure Symptoms

    Cold Weather and Joint Pain

    Low barometric pressure can negatively affect your health. Symptoms associated with low barometric pressure include:

    • The quickening of the heartbeat
    • Difficulty breathing.

    These symptoms are caused by the bodys need to adjust to the decrease in air pressure. People who are outside in cold weather or at high altitudes are most likely to experience these symptoms.

    To avoid these symptoms, it is important to dress warmly and drink plenty of fluids. If you do experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

    Don’t Miss: What Is Better For Arthritis Aleve Or Advil

    How To Prevent Getting Sick With Ra

    When you have RA, you may find yourself more susceptible to illnesses, which can make your RA worse. During the fall and winter, viruses go around a lot quicker due to the shifts in temperature and more time people spent indoors and close to one another, so it is important to take the necessary precautions for fighting off the cold or flu.

    This includes remembering to wash your hands any time you come in contact with something communal , staying hydrated, and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

    If you work with vulnerable populations, such as elderly people or young people under the age of five, ensure you are extra vigilant with your health practices. These populations are both more likely to carry a cold or the flu, and you are more likely to pass it on to them.

    You should also speak to your doctor about getting the flu shot to ensure you dont get the dreaded disease. The flu can knock you off your feet for quite a long time and make your RA a lot worse than it needs to be, so prevention is a great way to make sure you dont fall victim to it.

    Arthritis Can Affect People All Through The Year However The Winter And Wet Weather Months Can Make It Harder To Manage The Symptoms

    The cold and damp weather affects those living with arthritis as climate can create increased pain to joints whilst changes also occur to exercise routines.

    Many arthritis sufferers claim they can predict rainfall due to the level of pain in their joints. A recent study conducted in the US explains why. The study focused on patients with chronic pain, surveying if individuals feel an increase in pain when changes in weather occurs.

    â67.9 percent of the people surveyed responded that they were sure changes in the weather had an effect on their pain. Most of the patients reported that they can feel a change in their pain before rain or cold weather occur,â said Robert Jamison, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Womenâs Hospital, Chestnut Hill.

    Jamison revealed however that the factor that may be responsible for increased pain is not snow, cold or rain, but actually, a change in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the atmosphere at any given point. As a storm system develops, the barometric pressure begins to drop.

    âIt doesnât take much expansion or contraction of tissue to affect a pain trigger,â Jamison said. Therefore even individuals who live in drier climates also reported feeling more pain with weather changes.

    Also Check: What To Do For Arthritis In The Thumb

    Stretches To Try After A Cold

    Try this cooldown-stretching routine from Morgan after a cold-weather run or other outdoor workout. Hold each static stretch, or perform each dynamic move, for at least 30 seconds.

    • Start in downward facing dog, with your hands shoulder-width apart, butt lifted back and toward the ceiling, legs straight, arms extended, back flat, and your head in between your arms.
    • Bring your right foot forward outside your right hand. Your right knee should be bent in a deep runners lunge . Briefly hold that position before bringing your right foot back and transitioning into a downward facing dog. This is 1 rep.
    • Continue for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
    • Sit on a mat and bring your right leg underneath your body, placing it in front of you with your shin parallel to the top of your mat.
    • Extend your left leg long behind you and rest the top of your foot on the mat.
    • Keep your right foot flexed and try to keep your left hip as close to the mat as you can. If it lifts off the floor, bring your right foot a little closer to your body. Keep your torso straight.
    • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.
    • Lie on your back and stretch your arms out to your sides. Bring your knees in toward your chest and then drop them over to one side, keeping your knees and hips in line with each other.
    • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.

    Does Cold Weather Affect Your Dogs Arthritic Joints

    Does Cold Weather Affect Arthritis

    Thursday, January 20, 2022 | Health

    Some people with osteoarthritis claim they can predict the onset of cold weather through their joints. Blizzards coming, I can feel it in my knee, your grandfather may quip. If cold weather makes human joints feel stiff and achy, theres a pretty good chance it can have the same effect on your dog.

    While human research is inconclusive on why this might happen, there are several theories. In osteoarthritic joints, the cartilage covering the surface of the bones is damaged or worn away, exposing sensitive nerves underneath. Its possible that changes in barometric pressure may further irritate the nerves, causing additional pain.

    The synovial fluid inside the joint is typically a little thicker than water. Cold weather may increase the viscosity of the fluid, making the joint feel stiffer. Its also possible that lower temperatures can make the muscles supporting the joint less flexible. And certainly, people may stay indoors more in the winter, so a pet with arthritis may not get the regular walks and exercise he or she needs to maintain mobility. So, whats a dog owner to do?

    Read Also: How Does Sugar Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Ways To Manage Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis In Cold Weather

    With fall comes cooler temperatures, and if you suffer from arthritis, you know arthritis pain often increases in cold weather. Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis , this pain can limit your ability to enjoy any normal activities requiring movement. However, fall weather doesnt have to keep you from doing the things you love. Here are five ways you can help manage arthritis pain in cold weather:

    Keep head, hands, and feet covered to manage arthritis

    In cold weather conditions, some blood flow is diverted from our extremities to the critical organs of our core, such as our heart and lungs. This results in reduced blood flow to our joints, which can cause stiffness and pain. Wearing the right clothing when going outdoors can help you ease the chill. Dress in layers to stay warm, and wear socks and waterproof boots to avoid getting your feet wet or damp. Since internal body heat is lost most quickly through the head, hands, and feet, covering these body parts can help maintain the bodys internal warmth.

    Eat a healthy diet

    Eating a balanced diet can help you keep off the extra pounds that can add more stress to your joints. Consider adding foods which can help fight inflammation that can cause joint pain, such as omega-3-rich fish , soybeans, green tea, and walnuts.

    • Adolescents aged 14-18 years: 600 International Units
    • Adults aged 19-70 years: 600 IU
    • Adults aged 71 and older: 800 IU
    • Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women: 600 IU

    Drink plenty of fluids

    Does Hot Weather Make Arthritis Worse

    For many people, hot weather does tend to make their arthritis symptoms worse. This is likely because hot weather can cause inflammation and swelling, exacerbating pain and stiffness. In addition, heat can also make joint tissue more sensitive, making it more painful when pressure is applied.

    However, not everyone experiences significant worsening of their symptoms in hot weather. Some people find that their arthritis is actually less painful in warm weather.

    This may be due to the fact that heat can help to improve blood circulation and loosen stiff joints.

    As a result, it is difficult to say definitively whether hot weather makes arthritis worse or not. Ultimately, it depends on the individual.

    Also Check: How To Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Arthritis Pain Relief Tips For Winter Weather

    Dress warmly, work out inside, and get enough vitamin D. These are some of the ways you can get arthritis pain relief despite the bone-chilling cold of winter weather.

    Many people with arthritis swear by the pain in their joints as a predictor of rainy or cold weather. I used to hear people complain all the time that they knew rain was coming from the aching in their knees, says Pam Snow, 54, of Denver, who has arthritis. Now Im one of those people!

    Snow has osteoarthritis in both knees. She typically manages her pain with exercise, diet, weight loss, and the occasional over-the-counter pain reliever, but when winter weather sets in, Snow faces an extra joint-pain challenge. I think its related to barometric pressure, she says. It definitely has made me more cognizant of the weather.

    For Snow, arthritis isnt just a personal problem. As vice president for community involvement for the Colorado Arthritis Foundation, she travels the state educating others about the condition. So sheâs aware that thereâs very little scientific evidence to support her own experience, and that of the legions of others with arthritis who feel worse when the weather is frightful.

    Also Check: What Does Ra Pain Feel Like

    Theories About Cold Weather Joint Pain

    3 secrets to find relief from ARTHRITIS AND COLD WEATHER | Dr. Alyssa Kuhn

    Why do people with arthritis insist that their joints ache more in damp or cold weather? Numerous studies have come to no definitive conclusion, but medical experts have proposed some theories:

    • Perception: the idea that cold weather causes joint pain is so ingrained that we create a pattern when it happens.
    • Barometric Pressure: changes in pressure during colder weather may thicken fluid in joints and cause muscles, tendons, and scar tissue to contract, making them tighter and stiffer.
    • Nerves: When cartilage is worn away, nerves in the exposed bones may feel coldness and changes in barometric pressure more acutely.
    • Lack of Activity: people naturally move less during cold weather, and stiffness can set in with inactivity.

    Also Check: What Can I Take For Arthritis In My Feet

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