Menu

Does Your Pain Worsen During the Winter? Cold Weather May Be To Blame

Woman in pain in the snow

How Cold Can Affect Chronic Conditions and Worsen Pain

Winter can be the most uncomfortable time of the year if you have a chronic condition. Fortunately, making a few changes to your winter routine and visiting your chiropractor regularly can help ease your winter pain.

Why Pain and Other Symptoms Are Worse When It's Cold Outside

Arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and other conditions often seem to flare up during the coldest months of the year. Your pain may be worse due to several reasons, including:

  • Less Movement: If you live in an area with cold winter temperatures, you probably spend much more time indoors when it starts to get cold outside. When your activity level drops, your muscles and joints become less flexible and may tighten up, triggering pain. If the weather outside isn't ideal for exercising, walk a few miles on your treadmill, put on your favorite exercise video, or take a virtual exercise class. The more you move, the less you'll have to worry about aches and pains.
  • More Strain: When you do venture outside during the winter, chances are you're doing things that can strain your muscles and joints. Skiing, tubing, snowboarding, or just playing in the snow can be responsible for aches and pains, particularly if you aren't usually very active. Shoveling your driveway after a major snowstorm may also stress your joints, muscles, and tissues, causing pain for a day or two or even longer. Reduce strain by doing a few warm-up exercises before you hit the slopes, taking frequent breaks when you shovel snow, or using a snowblower to make the job easier on your body.
  • Barometric Pressure and Weather Changes: A decrease in barometric pressure may be the reason that your pain is worse on a cold day. When the barometric pressure drops, your tissues, muscles, and tendons may expand. The expansion can increase pressure on your nerves and joints, triggering pain. Humidity may also be a factor in cold weather pain. In a study published in The Journal of Rheumatology in October 2015, European researchers noted that pain and stiffness increased in patients with osteoarthritis on cold days with high humidity.
  • Excess Weight: Gaining weight may not be similar to other cold-weather symptoms, but many of us tend to add a few pounds during colder months due to reasons like holiday foods and treats, getting less fresh air, or avoiding exercising because of the temperatures outside. Even a few extra pounds can stress your spine and joints. Although you don't have to give up your favorite holiday foods, eating one cookie instead of five and exercising regularly can help you avoid seasonal weight gain and pain.

How Your Chiropractor Can Help You Reduce Your Pain

A spinal misalignment may cause or worsen your pain. Misalignments can occur as a result of minor falls when you're tubing or skiing or might happen if you spend hours outside shoveling snow. Do you enjoy snuggling up in a comfortable chair with a book when the weather is nasty outside? Remaining in the same position for hours at a time can stress your spine, causing your vertebrae to move out of alignment.

Misaligned vertebrae can be the source of both pain and stiffness and may limit your range of motion. Spinal manipulation, a treatment that uses quick, manual thrusts to realign your vertebrae, will relieve your pain.

When you already have a chronic condition, the slightest change in your activity level or the weather can turn a good day into a painful one. Visiting your chiropractor regularly can help you prevent pain and relieve it when it does threaten to ruin your day.

Your chiropractor offers a variety of treatments designed to reduce pain and keep your spine, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons limber, including massage, hot and cold therapies, electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, soft tissue mobilization, and traction.

Would you like to avoid winter pain this year? Contact our office to schedule regular visits with the chiropractor.

Sources:

PubMed: The Journal of Rheumatology: The Influence of Weather Conditions on Joint Pain in Older People with Osteoarthritis: Results from the European Project on Osteoarthritis, 10/15

UChicago Medicine: It's cold outside! Do your joints hurt?

WebMD: Does Weather Affect Joint Pain?

Location

Find us on the map!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-6:30 pm

Tuesday:

(by appointment only/ emergencies)

Wednesday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-6:30 pm

Thursday:

(by appointment only/ emergencies)

Friday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-6:30 pm

Saturday:

(by appointment only/ emergencies)

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "My name is Lilian and I have struggled with back pain as a result of poor posture. I have been experiencing scoliosis and nerve aches since my teenage years. After a number of visits with two separate neurologists, their recommendation was to simply use pain medication and accept living in pain. Ultimately, I turned to chiropractic care as a final option. Looking back, I wish I could've known sooner about going to see a chiropractor. This specialized care restored my health and changed my outlook on life. It totally transformed my attitude, while enhancing my overall performance physically and psychologically. I went from being in a foul mood most of the time and not sleeping through the night, to being able to function with my everyday workload and even initiating a workout regimen."
    Lilian G.
  • "Excellent service, they explain everything and help you to really improve, not for a simple back adjustment"
    Javier A.
  • "I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). I was in constant pain and sometimes wasn't able to do simple household chores. I had horrible fatigue and woke up exhausted every day even if I slept 10 hours. I Had migraines daily and anxiety attacks that eventually would come with no apparent cause. I was depressed and miserable. I went to every specialist: Endocrinologist, cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist... Some thought I was crazy and asked if I was having suicidal thoughts. I was given medications that I refused to take. Most doctors couldn't get lab results to support any diagnosis so they said it's fibromyalgia. My first adjustment got rid of my horrible anxiety. After a week of chiropractic care, the fatigue started to go away until it was completely gone. I rarely get headaches anymore. The pain I had everywhere started to decrease after the first month. Chiropractic got me out of my bed and out of depression."
    A. Mendez
  • "Jennifer had done wonders for my shoulder. My first visit I had shoulder lock and I could barely move my arm at all. Three visits later I have full motion and I haven’t felt better. It’s pretty mind blowing what this place is capable of! Visit ASAP"
    Austin P.
  • "Amazing Doctor. She is very passionate in what she does. Highly recommend her. Her staff is also amazing. I feel great thanks to her skills and compassion. My condition with my back is 95% better thanks to her. Very impressed!!!"
    Pablo R.