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Cold Weather Can Affect Joints

Question: Ever since it got cold out my joints and muscles have gotten sore.
Does the cold weather affect the joints and muscles and does warming them up make them feel better?

Answer: This has been a long cold winter already and yes the cold weather can affect the joints and muscles. Athletes warm up before performing their athletic events in order to stretch and prepare the muscles and joints for movement. It is called a warm up because heat allows for expansion of muscle tissue and prepares the muscles, which move joints, to move more freely and without interruption.

A cold muscle maintains toxins and is more rigid. Muscles are intended to be smooth and elastic. The cold muscle does not expand as easily as the warmed up muscle. A sudden movement of a cold muscle can jerk or tear the tendons (the ends of the muscle) because it was not stretched or warmed up. Small micro tears as well as large tears in the tendons or anywhere along a muscle will cause an inflammatory reaction. Fluid is drawn to and accumulated at the site of the tear as a healing mechanism. This fluid accumulation is what interferes with joint function and may cause pain and stiffness.

Whether you are an athlete or a non-athlete, a cold muscle that is taxed for activity prior to appropriate preparation is asking for trouble especially in the cold weather. When your body temperature is down it takes even more of a warm up to prepare muscles and joints.

To combat the achy muscle/joint winter syndrome I suggest always dressing warm. Drink plenty of fluids, both warm and cold, especially water. Do moderate stretching of every joint after your morning shower. Yoga is an excellent form of daily preparation. Anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E along with MSM, glucosamine sulfate and\or chondroiton sulfate have been documented to reduce joint pain. Discuss these alternatives with your medical physician or Chiropractor.

Your doctor should review persistent joint or muscle ache that progresses or is very intense. Chiropractors are an excellent source of knowledge and may have procedures that can help your condition.

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