Osteoarthritis in Winter – Luci Minogue

Hip painMany patients complain that their joint pain is worse in winter. Why is that so? Whilst the jury is still out, a couple of potential explanations include…

  1. A drop in barometric pressure which occurs in cooler weather.
  2. An increased activation of the nerves carrying pain messages from the joints.
  3. Colder temperatures and shorter days lead to a lower mood and a decrease in activity. Immobility can make pain worse.

One in three adults have osteoarthritis (a degeneration of the articular cartilage which makes up the surface of the bones in our joints) and pain can be triggered by cold, fatigue or trauma.
Some tips for winter include:

  • Dress warmly and consider layering your clothing.
  • Use your heating.
  • Use an electric blanket or take a hot water bottle or wheat bag to bed with you.
  • Keep active! Remember that one of the best things for musculoskeletal pain is to keep active in order to keep your body conditioned. Keep in mind though that if you pain increases with activity you should stop and consult your physiotherapist or doctor for advice.