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Tips to Relieve Chronic Pain in Cold Weather

Holding a warm beverage with mittens.

Most people with chronic pain can tell you when it is going to rain or snow. While there is no scientific proof as to why our joints and muscles ache more in cold weather, one thing is for sure: you are uncomfortable and want relief. Read on for some tips.

What We Know About Pain and Colder Weather

  • Some people believe that when it is colder outside the barometric pressure drops which can cause muscles and joint tissue to expand which can cause pain, especially in our smaller joints.
  • People with chronic conditions, rheumatologic conditions, or depression/anxiety are more likely to have increased pain in the winter.
  • Depression, anxiety, and stress can change how we perceive pain. It is very common to have increased anxiety and stress around the holidays, and we may carry that stress in our muscles and feel more pain.

How to Avoid Increased Cold-Weather Pain

You can’t change the weather, but you can make yourself more comfortable by changing your behavior during cold weather. Here are a few tips:

  • Try to stay warm. Take warm showers or baths, dress in layers during the day (including gloves and warm socks), use a heating pad or electric blanket at night, crank up the heat inside your home.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to put less stress on your joints—back, knees, hips.
  • Stay active and exercise regularly. Try exercise that is gentle on your joints, like yoga or swimming. Stretch and loosen your muscles/joints before going outside.
  • Drink warm tea or coffee to stay warm.
  • Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s sleep.

If you are having increased pain and aren’t sure what the next step is, ask your primary care provider if consulting with a pain management specialist is the right thing for you.

author name

Bailey A. Ellis, PA-C, M.S.

Bailey Ellis PA-C, MS, is a physician assistant with LG Health Physicians Specialty Medicine—Pain Management.  She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Philadelphia University.

Call: 717-627-8225

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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