Hyattsville physical therapists can help with arthritis symptoms that may get worse in the cold winter months

Hyattsville physical therapists arthritis

November 29, 2016

With the cold weather that’s just around the corner, our regular routines are certain to change a bit. Planning ahead will become even more of a necessity, and we will also find ways to reduce the amount of time spent outside. But for those with arthritis, the dropping temperatures through might throw an even bigger wrench in their spokes.

If you have arthritis or know anyone who does, you’re probably familiar with the concept that cold or rainy weather has the tendency increase symptoms, especially pain and stiffness. Many people with arthritis even claim that pain in their joints can be a predictor of cold weather or rain. When the frigid weather does arrive, these individuals are faced with even more difficulty getting out of bed in the morning and performing normal daily activities due to this increase in symptoms. Our Hyattsville physical therapists are here to explain why this may occur and what we can do to help.

It may come as a bit of surprise to anyone who experiences these issues, but there is actually very little scientific evidence to support the notion that cold weather can make arthritis symptoms worse. One leading theory as to why this occurs is that as the weather changes and the pressure drops, tissues that surround joints expand slightly. This puts extra pressure on joints and leads to pain. Other medical professionals believe that it may be a more indirect effect of the weather, since cold temperatures usually lead to shivering, tightening up and less physical activity. All of these factors can make arthritis symptoms worse, even though the weather itself doesn’t increase pain and stiffness directly.

For anyone with arthritis that does experience worse symptoms in the cold, the reasoning behind it doesn’t matter so much as the fact that it happens. If these winter months are leaving you in pain and preventing you from getting around, our Hyattsville physical therapists can help by advising you on how to move properly and stay active these next few months. Here’s what we’ll do for you:

  • Perform manual techniques to stretch out and move stiff joints
  • Prescribe muscle-strengthening exercises to build up joints that have been weakened by damage or inflammation from arthritis
  • Teach techniques to help you perform daily activities with the best possible posture and body movements to reduce painful actions
  • Help create a regular exercise plan to stay active throughout the colder months, encouraging exercise of affected joints before going outdoors
  • Encourage warm-water exercise, which is especially helpful this time of year to relieve stiffness with the warmth and buoyancy of the water
  • Instruct on the use heating pads and warming agents for painful joints

Just because cold weather adds to your pain doesn’t mean you should let it keep you from moving around, which will actually make it even worse. Call CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services at 301-853-0093 to schedule an appointment at any of our four clinics in Laurel, Hyattsville, Glenn Dale/Bowie or Parkville/Baltimore, MD, or click here for more information.