Arthritis Flare Ups In Winter – Is There A Link?

As the temperature drops and winter approaches, those with Arthritis often suffer from increased pain and stiffness in their joints. Arthritis does not occur in just one part of the body, it can present in various areas of the body, mainly joints. There are over 100 kinds of Arthritis and related conditions. When you have Arthritis, your joints are painful, may swell, feel stiff, and can make it difficult to live your life to your full potential.

Why Do We See A Flare Up In Colder Months?

During the colder months, many with Arthritis experience flare-ups, which increases joint pain and stiffness, making daily tasks unbearable. Some contributing factors for this are:

  • Barometric Pressure  – Changes in weather patterns cause shifts in barometric pressure, especially during winter. This can affect joint tissues. Some individuals with Arthritis report increased pain and stiffness when barometric pressure drops – potentially due to the expansion and contraction of tissue surrounding the joint.
  • Blood Circulation – Colder temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict, causing reduced blood flow to parts of the body. Poor circulation can limit the delivery of nutrients and oxygen; resulting in increased stiffness and pain around the affected area.
  • Vitamin D Levels – Reduced exposure to sunlight during winter can lead to lower Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining bone health and supplementing the immune system. Those who have low levels of Vitamin D may experience worsening symptoms during winter months.

How can we manage Arthritis flare-ups?

Even though we can’t control the temperature, there are things we can do to handle and reduce possible flare-ups in the colder months:

  • Protecting Our Joints – Use a supportive device like a brace to provide stability and protect the affected joint(s).
  • Vitamin D Supplements – Increased Vitamin D levels may help mitigate Arthritis symptoms. Consider speaking to your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy – Applying heat to the affected area can help relax muscles and relieve joint stiffness. Alternatively, applying a cold pack can numb the area and reduce inflammation.
  • Exercise and Movement – Staying active and moving your body can actually help with Arthritis during the winter. Regular exercise can reduce joint stiffness and pain, making it easier to manage winter Arthritis symptoms. Our team at Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy Penrith can help you with an exercise program specifically tailored to your requirements.

With winter fast approaching, it’s vital that we prepare our bodies for the upcoming drop in temperature. For those with Arthritis, make sure you layer up to protect your joints, get an extra dose of Vitamin D, move your body and use heat and cold therapy to assist with the pain increases. Here at Progressive Physio, our team can help you with reduces your flare-ups and improve your mobility during the colder months.

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.