5 tips to ease your joint pain during winter


Many people dislike winter because of the dark mornings, the thick frost coating our car windows, and for some, it’s the start of sore, stiff, achy joints.
Why does this happen and how can you ease the discomfort?
In this guide we’ll discuss the link between the colder weather and joint pain so you can enjoy the best bits of winter without your persistent joint pain holding you back. 

Why does joint pain worsen during winter?

When it’s cold, your muscles will naturally become tense, making them feel tight, inflexible and stiff.
If the weather’s cold, the pressure in the atmosphere drops (known as barometric pressure) and there becomes less pressure on your body from the air.
This causes your joints, in addition to your muscles and tendons, to become swollen, leading to pain. 
Although what makes the joints feel achy isn’t fully understood, it might be due to the cold making many people feel uncomfortable as you become aware of every twinge and ache.

How to ease joint pain

Thankfully, you don’t need to slog through winter until the warmer months arrive to melt away your joint pain.
There are ways to manage your aches and pains, so keep reading to find out how.


Keep active

Suffering from achy joints doesn’t mean you should cancel your gym membership during wintertime - in fact, it’s a very good reason to keep it going.
Although you should never exercise through extreme joint pain (always speak to a medical professional for advice before exercise if your pain is severe), an active, moving body warms up your muscles and prevents the stiffness from setting in.
Look at an old, unused, rusted piece of machinery.
If it moved after a long period of time, it would be squeaky and stiff, whereas a machine that’s in constant use and motion would not.

Don’t overindulge on winter treats

When it’s cold outside, it can be tempting to bunker down on the couch with an abundance of holiday snacks in tow.
While this is perfectly fine in moderation, if unhealthy eating becomes a habit, it will lead to weight gain which can put strain on your knees and other joints, worsening your pains.
Luckily, this holiday indulgence tends to last for a short period of time and the new year might be an ideal time to switch up your eating habits.
If you’re overweight, losing weight may lessen the pains in your joints.


Dress the part

You might think a big winter coat will be enough to keep you warm, and while it will certainly keep your body and arms toasty, what about your legs, feet and hands?
Layer up on thick socks, wear thermal pieces underneath your clothing (thermal tops, bottoms, tights, whatever you fancy) and never forget your gloves!
Keep a set in your car or bag if you think you’ll forget them.
Dressing for the cold weather makes a significant difference when it comes to your achy joints.
When you’re cold, your joints will notice, reacting with aches and pains. 
As we mentioned earlier, when we feel the cold we become uncomfortable and sensitive to every little twinge and twitch.
So, in order to ease your aches, bundle up and don’t let the cold seep through your clothes.


Practice self-care, winter style

Are your winter aches and pains giving you the cold-weather blues?
Combat your discomfort with some self-care, winter style.
Run yourself a warm bath infused with lotions formulated to soothe achy, stiff muscles and joints. 
Submerging your body into warm water will coax your tightened muscles to relax.
If you don’t have a bathtub available, you might find relief by using joint and muscle ointments, creams, lotions and salves that you can massage into the areas of pain to loosen the muscles.


Sometimes, you might need to seek additional help from your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist if your joint pain doesn’t ease on its own or it negatively impacts your daily life. 
They might suggest the anti-inflammatory painkiller ibuprofen which you can take orally or apply topically in the form of a gel to reduce swelling and relieve aches and pains.
Not only does Nurofen offer a dose of ibuprofen in oral and topical form, but they also have patches to provide targeted relief.
There are herbal remedies available too, like Tiger Balm, which works by creating a cooling and heating sensation to soothe the area after application. 
It contains a powerful formula of herbs and natural oils that work together to ease aches and pains in the muscles.
Or there’s Voltarol 12 Hour Joint Pain Relief Gel that works by penetrating deep into the skin to help deliver the active ingredient, diclofenac, to the site of pain and swelling.
However, always speak to a medical professional or read the instruction manual carefully before considering any of these options for joint pain.

Living with joint pain can negatively impact your daily life - you might dread the colder months, avoid going outdoors and limit your activity level, which aren’t good for you.
It’s time to take control of your joint pain by following the advice in this guide, and if it doesn’t work for you, be sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist for advice.
Winter can be hard for everyone, so don’t let your joint pain make it harder.
For more information on joint pain, visit the NHS website.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 15 March 2023
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