I was always skeptical growing up when my grandma would say that the weather affected her joints and she would experience more hand pain in the winter months. My skeptical view, however, has been challenged by real life experience as a chiropractor.
Over the past few years I've had various patients tell me that they can predict weather patterns by the changes in their aches and pains. I always knew when a weather front was coming through based on when one particular patient would show up complaining of low back pain. He was honestly more reliable than the local meteorologist. Typically, the days following his visit would involve cooler, damp weather.
There are many diseases that are affected by the weather, but some of the most common are osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, a painful condition that affects the hands and feet known as Reynaud's, and fibromyalgia. The symptoms can show up as back pain, wrist pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, foot pain, knee pain, etc.
The research that exists on this is conflicting, and at best suggests there is a mild increase in pain for individuals who have arthritis and live in cooler climates. Check out this link to a research article by Johns Hopkins for more information about those studies. Click here!
So, after reading the article (You did read it, right?) you are most likely wondering what you can do about your weather-related pains, despite the results of the study. Here are a few tips to help you decrease your weather related pains this winter.
1) Make sure you are getting plenty of fish oil and Vitamin D as they both play a crucial part in your joint health and pain reduction. Fish oil can help to reduce inflammation and Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to increase chronic pain. Individuals using narcotic pain killers have been noted to need more Vitamin D than those who do not. (Consult your doctor prior to beginning a Vitamin D regimen as too much Vitamin D can be toxic.)
2) Stay warm! I get it, your house is heated, you're already warm. If you go outside, wear gloves and other appropriate clothing. Nobody cares how "tough" you think you look without gloves, put them on. Also, this cold weather and your aches and pains could be a GREAT reason to get that hot tub you've always wanted.
3) Exercise, even if it's just slowly stretching at home. Get up off the couch and move! Joints that ache and just feel sore will generally respond well to movements that are smooth and controlled. Exercising in a warm indoor pool (or your new hot tub) can be done all year, even during the coldest days. If you don't have access to a pool or feel that stretching just isn't enough, get outside and walk (preferably not on icy surfaces).
4) Get adjusted! A joint that is in proper alignment will ALWAYS perform better than a joint that is out of alignment. Chiropractic adjustments can slow down the progression of various forms of arthritis.
If you have persistent pain that keeps you from doing what you love to do, you don't have to live with it. Get checked out to see if there is something that can be done at Crow Wing Chiropractic in Baxter, MN!