Medicine or Malarkey: Does Cold Weather Cause Joint Pain?

Mom Joint Pain Running

Experiencing more creaks and groans during those family touch-football games? You're not alone! It's common for many with past injuries to experience joint pain flare-ups in colder temperatures -- and that's not limited to seniors! But does the cold weather actually cause it?

Let's explore what happens when joints become inflamed during cold weather, as well as a few common home remedies to help you feel better:

Winter Pains and Your Joints

Colder weather stresses the body and requires more energy to perform routine tasks. A relationship does exist between colder weather and joint pain. However, the actual mechanism behind it has yet to be determined. Temperature and humidity are two factors found to alter pain intensity and duration for “weather-sensitive” patients, according to recent studies. Patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may also report exacerbated symptoms during colder weather. The months of December and January are reportedly the worst months for those experiencing joint pain flare-ups during cold weather, although it can happen if you travel to colder locales any time of year. Individuals of all ages with past injuries may feel more aches and pains in wintry temperatures.

Common Remedies for Joint Pain

While not every home remedy will reduce joint pain and stiffness for all individuals, the following common home remedies may be worth trying in a pinch.

  • Eating a garlic clove every other day to reduce joint pain progression;
  • Rubbing warm vinegar into the site of discomfort to soothe the area and relax surrounding muscles;
  • Drinking a mixture of two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey in a cup of warm water daily to decrease joint inflammation and pain;
  • Drinking one to two cups or alfalfa tea on a daily basis to delay joint pain progression; and
  • Soaking the area in a warm Epsom bath to provide relief and relax the area.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also help prevent or reduce symptoms. It's common to overindulge in rich foods, potentially high in uric acid, during the holiday season -- and that may serve to worsen joint pain symptoms. Healthy diets and a regular routine of basic exercises may help those experiencing joint pain this winter season. However, new joint pain may develop in those with active conditions, including strains, sprains and tendinitis -- so it's important to pace yourself and increase activity gradually. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the response to home treatments, additional intervention or urgent care may be necessary.

Feel Better No Matter the Temperature

Don’t let joint pain get in the way of enjoying your everyday life. If you experience an increase in ongoing joint pain or new joint pain discomfort, seek the attention of a medical professional. Schedule an appointment to identify the cause and receive effective treatment to reduce joint pain with one of our healthcare professionals today. If you need ongoing or more specialized care, we'll help arrange that with the provider of your choice.