Does Cold Weather Impact Arthritis?

Health professionals generally agree that patients with arthritis tend to feel more aches and pains during winter, or colder seasons.  However, there is little or no scientific proof that colder weather itself is what impacts our joints.  Many believe it is instead the reaction of our bodies to the colder weather and what we do or do not do which has the greater impact on our joints.  In the article "Dealing with arthritis in cold weather", the Vice President of Mission Delivery for the New Jersey Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Peggy Lotkowictz, identifies shivering, tightening up of muscles, and reduction of physical activity as three reasons why people's joints stiffen up in winter times. 

Many people with arthritis would disagree with the notion that cold weather does not directly impact their joints, and there has been much discussion about correlations between the weather and arthritis (see WebMD article on the subject).  Regardless of which opinion you believe, perhaps the greatest suggestion for pain reduction any day (rainy, sunny, cold, etc.) is to make sure you are still being physically active.  Local malls, schools, and community centers are great options for moving about indoors when the weather is not ideal.  Community programs, including Walk With Ease and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, are also great ways to keep a routine schedule for being physically active, regardless of the weather!

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