6 ways to prevent cold weather from aggravating your muscle and joint pain


Earle Logan
@EarleLogan2


12 January 2015

Why does the cold affect our muscles and joints?

Well, firstly, when muscles are cold, they are never as flexible and energetic, meaning they are more likely to become damaged and painful.

However, in most people this passes once they ‘get going’. But what if the cold weather brings about fatigue, balance problems, muscle weakness or headaches? When those symptoms are worsened by the cold, it might be because of the changes in air pressure that precede a change in the weather. Higher humidity, lower air pressure and high winds are associated with headaches (and migraines) in many people.

The cause is not yet known for sure, but much like the sensation of ’brain freeze’ some people get when they eat ice-cream, cold air might stimulate the trigeminal nerve that is responsible for skin sensations in the face and neck (and mouth, hence the ice-cream ‘brain freeze’). The cold causes blood vessels to constrict, causing the headache. Migraine sufferers may already have an increased sensitivity to sensory changes (hot/cold, light/dark, noise/silence etc) and a lower pain threshold too.

6 ways to stop the cold weather aggravating your aches and pains

1. Try to overdress rather than underdress because you can always remove a layer if you’re too hot. For those who suffer headaches, wrap your neck in a scarf.

2. Make an extra effort to get any draughts in the house sealed as people can have heightened sensory sensitivity and as a result feel the effects of changes in temperature even more.

3. Don’t stay out in the cold too long. Make the most of the time outside to warm your core, and get home and warm up to maintain the benefit – the best of both worlds.

4. Set your heating to come on a couple of hours before you get up in the morning and warm the car up before setting off so that painful episodes don’t strike before you even arrive at work.

5. Try to keep moving rather than shrinking into the sofa as this generates heat and improves flexibility and the range of joint movement.

6. Acknowledge the impact of the colder weather on pain.By making allowances and planning ahead you should find the winter months more tolerable than in the past.

How to ease pain when it strikes

If you're finding that the coler weather is upsetting your muscles and joints, you could try using heat therapy to relax and soothe them: a warm bath, a heat pad or a hot water bottle.

You could also try rubbing arnica gel on your sore joints and muscles 2-4 times a day to provide pain relief. This is great as you can apply it before you go out so it can relieve pain while your out in the cold.

You may also wish to take Devil's Claw over the winter months, as this is licenced for relieving muscle and joint pain

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  • Alesia's photo avatar
    Alesia — 14.06.2018 16:36
    I'm in need of help/advice/referral. I've had several back surgeries. Now, I have cold sensitivity in my lower back, left buttock and left hip. 1) When I go into the grocery store if it is too cold for me (my muscles, nerves, skin, something??) I can end up walking very stiff and in pain. My left leg just drags along. 2) When the weather is below 50 degrees I'm not able to walk. I'm very stiff and in pain. I use 2 Thermacare heat wraps to warm the areas up so I can walk. I've been to 4 Pain Clinics over the years. They can't help. They have each tried Radiofrequency Ablation. None of them have been able to reach the nerve they think is causing the problem. Therefore, they can't burn the nerve they believe is causing the problems. I really don't want to go on this way. Who or what can stop this from happening?

    Reply

    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 15.06.2018 07:00
      Hi Alesia I’m afraid your situation is too complex for web advice. I’d consider seeing a physiotherapist for a full assessment of your moment and muscle activation. They will be able to take the effects of your surgery into account and recommend appropriate exercises. We’re just here for more everyday complaints I’m afraid.

      Reply

  • Kaluba's photo avatar
    Kaluba — 15.04.2018 13:48
    my legs hurt mostly on the knee joint, they stop paining when I put them in hot or warm water,and pour water on the knee area... What could be the problem?

    Reply

    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 16.04.2018 06:27
      Hello Kaluba There are many structures in and around the knee and it’s impossible to know the cause of your knee pain over the internet. Please see a physiotherapist.

      Reply

  • Valderine Zudell's photo avatar
    Valderine Zudell — 14.04.2018 17:57
    I've found that even drinking cold fluids can trigger attacks of esophageal spasms that feel like a heart attack. Fortunately I have found that a teaspoon of "Gripe Water" (used for colic in babies) relieves this severe pain often in less than 5 minutes. It contains the herb Fennel which is a known anti-spasmodic.

    Reply

Atrosan® – Devil’s Claw tablets for muscle and joint pains

30 tablets

£ 10.99

find your local stockist

Relieves muscle & joint pain, backache and lumbago. Also available in 60 tablet size.
More info

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