Skip to content

With Iowa City having such cold weather, we’ve been having more patients stating that the cold has been increasing their joint pain.

Why Joints Hurt in the Cold:

There’s no full agreement among scientists that weather causes pain, or if a specific mechanism is at fault, but there are plausible theories.

  • A large study conducted in Sweden and published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health surveyed almost 135,000 male construction workers.1 The researchers found that the men who worked in low temperatures reported higher incidences of neck and low back pain compared with those working in higher temperatures. A similar survey in Finland produced the same findings.2
  • >Discomfort may increase because your muscles stiffen up in the cold. The spine’s muscles may become tight and tense. Added tension can make the pain worse and may increase your risk of a muscle strain or a sprain.
  • The same goes for migraines, which patients also say are linked to weather patterns. Barometric pressure changes, as well as changes in humidity and temperature, might affect the pressure in the brain, or the way the brain blocks pain.
  • One leading theory points to changes in air pressure or barometric pressure. Many people say that their pain increases with the cold, wind, rain, or snow, research suggests that it’s the low barometric pressure that causes the pain.

Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us.

If you imagine the tissues surrounding the joints to be like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding.

Barometric pressure often drops before bad weather gets to us. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand — and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint.

If you are suffering from additional aches and pains this winter, don’t wait until it’s unbearable. Get checked by a corrective care chiropractor today. Contact us at Black & Gold Chiropractic & Wellness and keep the pain away when it’s cold.

  1. Burström L, Järvholm B, Nilsson T, Wahlström J. Back and neck pain due to working in a cold environment: a cross-sectional study of male construction workers. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2013;86(7):809-813.
  2. Pienimäki T, Karppinen J, Rintamäki H, et al. Prevalence of cold-related musculoskeletal pain according to self-reported threshold temperature among the Finnish adult population. Eur J Pain. 2014;18(2):288-298.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.