This Could Be The Reason Your Joints Are Stiff Lately + What To Do About It
There are many factors that contribute to joint pain and stiffness, including insufficient movement, vitamin deficiencies, and underlying autoimmune disorders. Another sneaky culprit that impacts joint pain is none other than cold weather, which those of us in the Northern Hemisphere may know all too well right about now.
Here's what the science says about the weather as it relates to joint pain, plus what you can do to loosen things up.
What the research says.
Many people living with chronic pain will likely tell you that temperature fluctuations impact their discomfort. In one study in the American Journal of Medicine1, researchers concluded that knee pain severity in individuals with knee osteoarthritis, for instance, is "modestly influenced by the weather." An increase in barometric pressure (which happens when the temperature drops) is also associated with greater pain, as is colder ambient temperature, the study found.
Additional research, on the other hand, has questioned these findings, such as a 2016 review in the Journal of General Practice that says, "The evidence to support this common observation is weak; however, some studies have reported a trend towards worsening of pain and stiffness with falling temperature and barometric pressure in arthritic patients."
The point is, there is definitely an anecdotal and patient-reported association between cold weather and joint pain/stiffness, so if that sounds all too familiar, here's what to do.
What to do about it.
If your joints are feeling stiff due to the cold, one obvious solution, of course, is to warm up. Warm baths with Epsom salts, for example, have been found to reduce knee joint pain in elderly populations.
In addition to keeping warm, ensuring you're getting enough movement is essential. Strength training is well known to reduce pain and improve the function of joints2, while soothing practices like yoga can help keep your body limber and stretched.
In terms of nutrition, getting adequate nutrients—while also minding any food intolerances that could be contributing to inflammation—is another essential for managing joint pain.
And to give your body a hand in promoting healthy and balanced joints, it can also be beneficial to take a quality joint comfort supplement for sustained relief.
As we get deeper and deeper into the cold months of the year, there's a chance your joints could feel a bit stiffer and achier than usual. The good news is, with some efficient lifestyle tweaks and a quality supplement, you and your joints can get some relief.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.