Why Does Cold Weather Hurt?

It’s winter once again, and you may notice that with the decrease in temperature often comes an increase in chronic aches and pains. Colder weather can cause more pain than usual.

On a chemical level, the body is made up of many atoms. These atoms, when subjected to heat, tend to expand and decrease in density, allowing for more space. When it gets colder, however, they do the opposite- as atoms increase in density, they are, in effect, getting closer to each other.

Muscularly, this means that the atoms making up the muscle become marginally closer together, but sometimes that shift due to the changing temperature can cause a pull on nerve endings as the atoms contract. This is particularly felt in joint areas, because of the many bodily components that converge; bones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels all feel the effects of this contraction, and therefore more prone to friction and pulling, however marginally, on each other.

So how can we combat this seasonal pain? The Illinois Pain Institute gives a few suggestions:

  1. Bundle Up! Keep the body warm and avoid unnecessary cold situations.
  2. Stretch! In the mornings and at night, when the body is most relaxed. This will help maintain muscular health and ensure that the pulls going on within the joints are lessened.
  3. Exercise Regularly! Keeping the muscles from becoming sedentary is important in ensuring that they stay adaptable to all temperatures.

To learn more about how Stretch Zone can help, visit us here!

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