When the Weather Affects Your Joints

When the seasons change and the weather gets colder and wetter, many people experience stiffer, achier joints.[1][2] Researchers still aren’t sure why this happens, but there are a few leading theories. Changes in temperature and barometric pressure may cause the body to react in ways that exacerbate joint discomfort.

Top 3 ways the weather can affect your joints:

Barometric Pressure

Changes in atmospheric pressure may cause sensitive tissues to expand and contract, increasing inflammation and discomfort. People with worn-down joint tissues may also have more exposed nerve endings which are sensitive to these pressure changes.[3]

Low Temperature

Cold temperatures may thicken the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, restricting its flow and leading to stiffer movements and more friction. Our bodies also conserve heat in the cold by reducing circulation to the outer limbs and extremities, which deprives joints of blood flow.[4]

Behavior & Mood

Our natural human reaction to cold, unpleasant weather can also make things worse. We may hibernate indoors rather than staying active, which decreases circulation to the joints, making them stiffer and achier. A case of the winter blues can also heighten our sense of discomfort.

How to support your joints when the weather turns cold:

Stay Warm

Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean you have to be. Be proactive about dressing in layers and keeping your hands and feet cozy with socks and gloves. Warm yourself up with a hot bath or apply a heating pad to areas that are especially sore. Keeping your body temperature warm will boost circulation, relax tense muscles, and ease stiff joints.

Stay Active

Exercise may be less appealing when it’s cold and rainy, but it’s as important as ever. Not only does it warm you up, loosen you up, and increase blood flow, it can help strengthen the muscles that stabilize your joints and increase your range of motion for better mobility. Indoor swimming in a heated pool is a great option, as the water helps take pressure off the joints.

Stay Hydrated

Many people don’t realize how important water is for healthy joints. Water is a primary component of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints, and makes up about 75% of the spongy cartilage that cushions joints and provides shock absorption.[5] When cartilage is dehydrated, it becomes stiff, increasing friction, inflammation, and discomfort. Keep that water bottle handy!

Joint Support Supplements

Wearing away of cartilege tissue and excess inflammation in the joints causes stiffness and discomfort. Supplements such as Omega-3 Fish Oil and Turmeric & Ginger may help with joint health issues by supporting a healthy inflammation response and limiting cartilege degradation. A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials found that omega-3s can help with joint comfort.[6] Early research on turmeric for joint comfort is also very promising.[7]

Find all of Naturelo’s Joint Health Supplements.

References:

[1] Timmermans EJ, van der Pas S, Schaap LA, Sánchez-Martínez M, Zambon S, Peter R, Pedersen NL, Dennison EM, Denkinger M, Castell MV, Siviero P, Herbolsheimer F, Edwards MH, Otero A, Deeg DJ. Self-perceived weather sensitivity and joint pain in older people with osteoarthritis in six European countries: results from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA). BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014 Mar 5;15:66. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-66. PMID: 24597710; PMCID: PMC3996041.

[2] McAlindon T, Formica M, Schmid CH, Fletcher J. Changes in barometric pressure and ambient temperature influence osteoarthritis pain. Am J Med. 2007 May;120(5):429-34. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.07.036. PMID: 17466654.

[3]Does Weather Affect Joint Pain?” WebMD. Nov 202.

[4]What Causes Knee Pain in Cold Weather?” WebMD, Aug 2022.

[5] "Dehydration and Joint Pain.” Orthopedic Specialists, May 2019.

[6] Goldberg RJ, Katz J. A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for inflammatory joint pain. Pain. 2007 May;129(1-2):210-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2007.01.020. Epub 2007 Mar 1. PMID: 17335973.

[7] Henrotin Y, Priem F, Mobasheri A. Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):56. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-56. Epub 2013 Feb 18. PMID: 23487030; PMCID: PMC3591524.