Time to Read: 5 Minutes
Level: Entry to Intermediate
- Why the cold makes you feel worse
- What you can do about it
- Tips from arthritis sufferers
- Diet and Lifestyle
- The effects of infrared technology on arthritis
Winter is notoriously a time for being ‘under the weather' and every year the same colds, flus and sniffles go round. But the weather can impact much more of your body and your day-to-day function when you suffer from a condition like arthritis.
For those suffering from arthritis, it's well known that the cold weather brings added discomfort, stiffness and joint pain – but what you might not expect is that the cold itself is only part of the reason why people feel this way in winter.
Arthritis is a condition that causes swelling and pain in the joints, and according to the NHS it affects as many as 10 million people in the UK and affects people at all ages – not just the older population. (1) There are many different types of arthritis, all with various differing causes, symptoms and treatments – but one thing they all have in common is that they cause this painful swelling in the joints.
So why do I feel worse when it's cold?
Studies into arthritis and cold weather have reported that low temperature, high atmospheric pressure and high humidity are all correlated with pain in rheumatoid arthritis (2). Studies show that the change in barometric pressure is the main culprit of
In fact, studies are showing that the change in the barometric pressure is truly the culprit to joint discomfort. Sudden drops in the barometric pressure can cause our joints to swell, placing more pressure on the nerves that control our pain centers. The more swelling you have, the more aches and pains you feel. (3)
One study found that groups more likely to report the weather influencing their health include woman and people with anxiety, with the possible explanations for this being that poor mood might increase subjective complaints of pain. (4) This same study also highlights that the weather difference is more keenly felt by arthritics in southern Europe, where the climate's more Mediterranean and the difference between winter and summer weather is more drastic.
What can I do about it?
First off, it's important to do your best to keep on top of any and all treatments you've been prescribed and recommended by your doctor – especially before undertaking any physical activity. Whether it's medication, physiotherapy or lifestyle you have self-management techniques you use to keep the swelling or the pain at a manageable level, you should also take extra care to continue these techniques and get into a consistent management routine.
If you're looking for more information on specific pain management techniques, we've got some great articles on how best to manage arthritic pain:
Natural Arthritis Pain Relief, Management & Treatment (Part 1)
Natural Arthritis Pain Relief, Management & Treatment (Part 2)
Recommendations from arthritis sufferers include:
Wrapping up warm
Layering up on clothing, especially with gloves and socks
Using hot water bottles and blanket for added warmth at home
Consuming plenty of hot beverages and hot foods
Electric blankets for night time
Deep tissue massages
Vitamin D supplements
Making adjustments to your daily routine and home to prevent overstraining and risk of injury
For more tips like these and general arthritis advice, we recommend you visit the Versus Arthritis website.
Diet, Lifestyle & Weight Management
This is one of the first things your doctor might check for and recommend when you get diagnosed with arthritis. Getting a good, balanced diet is important when managing any long-term health condition, and with arthritis it's especially important that the joints aren't being put under additional stress by excess body weight.
Exercise is another lifestyle area your doctor will recommend you take closer care with, and the right kind of exercise will boost your endorphins, manage your weight and help with your overall immune health. Although it seems counterintuitive when you're in pain, a regular routine of the right kind of exercise at the right intensity for your needs will can reduce stiffness, improve flexibility and range of motion, combat fatigue and build muscular strength.
The key thing to remember with lifestyle adjustments is to set achievable goals and to be consistent with the habits you do decide to take on.
Infrared technology is one of the most effective ways to combat the symptoms of arthritis, and it's also one of the easiest methods to incorporate into your daily routine. Infrared technology like that in our entire product line will work with your body to produce biological effects such as:
Boosted circulation, especially to the extremities
Decreased stiffness of muscles and joints
Our unique fabric will also retain heat for 63% longer than fabrics of an equivalent weight, so infrared is a winter staple you'll rely on for warmth and all the other amazing benefits.
To find out more about the insulating and thermoregulating properties of infrared, check out our deep dive on thermoregulation and the effects of infrared in the winter here.
We've got countless testimonials from customers suffering with arthritis, and all claims made on our site are clinically backed up:
ARTHRITIC AND INFRAPATELLA PAIN
"I got these after seeing the guys at a New Scientist stand and learning about the technology behind it, I thought I'd take a punt. My joint problems mean I can't do much activity beyond boring and painful physio but I had used some infrared treatments for my pain in the past which helped somewhat. I now wear these all day and it helps no end. I can walk further in these than without them as they dull the pain in my knees. I didn't notice at first how much it was helping until I didn't wear them for a couple of days - ouch. They dry super fast and so far they haven't worn out from all the wearing and washing I have done."
- Georgina SatchelReferences
(3) https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/how-does-cold-weather-affect-arthritis#:~:text=It's%20long%20been%20a%20belief,the%20culprit%20to%20joint%20discomfort .
Azzouzi, H., & Ichchou, L. (2020). Seasonal and weather effects on rheumatoid arthritis: Myth or reality? Pain Research & Management : The Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, 2020 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/5763080
Fernandes, Elizabeth S et al. "Environmental cold exposure increases blood flow and affects pain sensitivity in the knee joints of CFA-induced arthritic mice in a TRPA1-dependent manner." Arthritis research & therapy vol. 18 7. 11 Jan. 2016, doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0905-x