You wake up on a cold morning and everything hurts…is it the temperature? And if it is…how can that make us hurt? Well, there’s good news and bad news for this topic. A study by Tufts University found that drops in barometric pressure during winter – and thus reducing our oxygen consumption – can trigger arthritic pain, and cold temperatures can also cause joint fluid to thicken and work less efficiently. However there are other studies that have not been able to find these connections, which must mean your sore knee doesn’t know what it’s going on about.
Of course, being told your knee isn’t sore because it’s cold when it’s cold and you have a sore knee isn’t much help. Not all of us have access to a hyperbaric chamber or bottled oxygen to see if that’ll improve the blood flow and reduce the pain of an aching joint – but most of us can at least do one thing when the temperature drops and the aches begin. We can move.
One of the big traps of cold weather is shutting the windows, turning on the heater and crawling under a doonah. It sure is comfortable, but it’s also leaving your joints locked and immobile for extended periods of time. This lack of activity has been suggested as an underlying cause of winter joint pain – and a fast way of avoiding this kind of pain is to get out from under the doonah and go for a walk. That thickened joint fluid will warm up with activity and start lubricating the joints with some movement, so if it hurts to take a few steps, try taking a thousand and see if the pain persists. I’m not saying the pain will go away, but you never know until you give that winter exercise a chance to do its thing.
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