Joint Pain Relief Tips for Cold Weather

Dress warmly, work out inside, and get enough vitamin D. These are some ways you can get arthritis pain relief despite the bone-chilling cold of winter weather.

Want to keep your joints happy? Keep warm, stay hydrated, indulge with a massage and try vitamin D supplements.

Many people with arthritis swear by the pain in their joints as a predictor of rainy or cold weather. “I used to hear people complain all the time that they knew rain was coming from the aching in their knees,”

Some people typically manage their pain with exercise, diet, weight loss, and the occasional over-the-counter pain reliever, but when winter weather sets in, most faces an extra joint-pain challenge.


Whether the joint pain/weather connection is scientifically true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain-relief tips when your aching joints act up in the cold.


  1. Dress Warmly If it's cold outside, keep aching hands warm with gloves, and add extra layers over knees and legs.

  2. Layer Up It's important to wear a good amount of layers to control the comfort level when temperatures shift dramatically during the day.

  3. Hydrate Drink more water. Even mild hydration might make you more sensitive to pain.

  4. Lose Weight Shed some pounds. Indeed, a 2013 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted the significant improvement people with knee arthritis can get from weight loss, from diet, and exercise. 

  5. Exercise Inside While it's understandable to want to avoid winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function, according to a study of people with knee arthritis published in Arthritis Care & Research in March 2015. Come up with an indoor exercise plan. Walk in the mall if possible.

  6. Let Warm Water Comfort You Swimming in a heated pool is both great exercise and soothing to joints. You can also get relief from warm baths, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak. Let your body temperature normalize a bit first. 

  7. Supplement Vitamin D Low levels of vitamin D might play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain, according to research in the September 2015 issue of Pain Management. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk of osteoporosis.

  8. Stay safe Particularly when the weather turns icy, people with arthritis need to protect their joints from further damage. If you’re going outside, pick solid, supportive shoes with good treads and try to walk on a surface that doesn’t look slick.

  9. Consider Acupuncture Acupuncture is another option for those willing to consider non-traditional treatments. It does seem patients derive some benefit with regard to pain. You also might find the process relaxing and feel generally healthier, according to research in the August 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  10. Get a Massage Yes, you have permission to indulge yourself and get a massage. A lot of what’s happening in terms of pain is [that] some is emanating from the joint and some from the muscles around the joint. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain, according to research in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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