This time of year, small, memorable moments tend to fill our minds and hearts with reminders of happy times and seasonal transitions to come. Cooler and drier air, earlier evenings, twinkling lights, and festive songs on the radio signify a countdown to our favorite holidays, but for those with seasonal and chronic joint pain, these signs also usher in the changes in weather and environment that contribute to worsening joint pain. What about cold weather impacts our joints, and what pain treatments can be most effective for relief this time of year?

Sources of Joint Pain

For a number of reasons, joint pain is an increasingly common condition among American adults. Steadily growing waistlines contribute pressure to our hardworking joints, and since adults are active longer than ever, wear and tear is more prevalent at an earlier age. These conditions lead to osteoarthritic changes, and result in aches and pains that become chronic and begin to limit our mobility and function. Decreased activity invites a process of “deconditioning,” and weak muscles result in vulnerable joints. Whether from acute injury, decreased joint fluid volume, or worn soft tissues like cartilage and ligaments, there’s no one cause of joint pain, and no one way to treat it.

Worsening Weather and Chronic Pain

Although there are differing ideas about the impact of certain weather conditions on joint pain, some studies indicate that atmospheric changes in elements like barometric pressure contribute to increases in reported pain and debility. In warm, humid weather, the barometric pressure is elevated, which naturally presses against the body and keeps our tissues from expanding. When air pressure decreases because of cold, dry conditions or snow “storms,” soft tissues in and around joints might experience expansion, which can make it more painful for some people to flex their joints and move fluidly.

Another idea about worsening weather is attributed to temperature changes and joints. For people with arthritic joint pain, colder temperatures might contribute to thicker, more viscous joint fluid, leading to stiffness and decreased activity levels that create a cycle of sedentary behavior and increased pain.

How MAPS Can Help

The joint pain relief professionals at MAPS are dedicated to providing our clients with non-surgical solutions no matter the season, and offer a number of innovative therapies for improved sensation, function, and mobility. Treatments can include:

  • Genicular nerve ablation for minimally invasive relief of nagging nerve pain.
  • Injection-based therapies for rapid pain relief that naturally lubricate the joint, promote the repair and growth of damaged cells in the joint, boost the body’s ability to heal itself, and reduce inflammation.
  • Bracing and support for improved stability and support during recovery.
  • Physical therapy for gentle strengthening of surrounding musculature, and improved gait and mechanics.

Enjoy the Holidays Without Pain This Year

Seasonal changes tune us in to our inherent natures and can be beautiful reminders to rest and restore, but when environmental shifts also welcome increased joint pain and sensitivity, they can be hard to enjoy. This holiday season, turn to the compassionate care teams at Chicago’s MAPS Centers for Pain Control for the support you need to revel in all the traditional activities you enjoy. Our double-board certified physicians and interventional pain professionals are dedicated to your fast and lasting relief, so call MAPS today and put the pain behind you!