Why your knee pain gets worse in the winter

In the summer, your joint pain might be manageable. You can take long walks without hurting, play tennis under the sun, and climb a few flight of stairs without hearing any odd creaks or scrapes. However, as the winter begins, you might notice a turn for worse. What seemed livable becomes unbearable, and you have no desire to leave your home.

This phenomenon is nothing to be ashamed of. In past years, some might have claimed such occurrences were in your head. Today, however, most medical personnel agree that there’s a definite connection between joint pain and the weather. A recent study revealed that nearly 2/3rds of people with chronic pain experienced increased levels during rainy and snowy periods. However the exact cause of this connection is still undetermined.

There are a couple hypothesi out there that hold some weight. For example, cold weather sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are extremely hard on the knees. However, that doesn’t account for the thousands of people who don’t take part in such activities, but still have trouble with pain in the winter.

Currently, the leading theory is that barometric pressure can contribute to knee pain. Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere around us. Often, this pressure lessens right before bad weather arrives. As the pressure drops, it pushes less against our bodies, which means the tissue inside of us can expand. This might not be much of a problem, unless you already have tissue swelling in your knees. Then, the additional expansion can make the swelling worse, and your pain levels will naturally increase.

David Borenstein, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, compared the phenomenon to getting on a plane. When we are cruising at high altitudes, there’s less barometric pressure, and our feet will often swell a little more than they would if we were sitting at our desks at sea-level.

Though there’s little that can be done to change barometric pressure levels, there’s plenty of other things you can do to fight knee pain. If your pain has gotten worse lately, come into our clinic for a consultation . We use the latest technology, like genetic profiling, to determine the right medication for you. When appropriate, we also combine medication with physical therapy for the best possible results.

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