Why does joint pain increase with cold weather?
There is not one simple explanation as to why joint pain gets worse when it is cold but the following can be considered:
The increase in the joint pain can be a result of the change in atmospheric pressure that accompanies cold fronts. Inflamed joints swell as barometric pressure drops. The swelling irritates the sensory nerves located in and around the joints, causing pain and discomfort. Joint linings contract in cold weather. The nerve endings in these tissues are then stimulated, sending messages of pain and tightness to the brain. In cold weather the blood circulation to the limbs decreases in a bid to keep the core temperature steady. This reduction in blood supply means an accompanying decrease in oxygen delivery to the tissues, causing stiffness and discomfort. During cold spells we are less inclined to move or be as active as in warmer temperatures. This immobility means already compromised joints and muscles have a reduced flow of nutrients and oxygen, making arthritic pain worse.