Dropping temperatures would often signal the time for cozy sweaters and warm beverages, along with visions of pumpkin-carving and leaves brilliantly changing colors. But for many people who are living with hand conditions and injuries, cold weather means increased pain in their joints. While there is no clear scientific explanation to support this claim, freezing temperatures along with low barometric pressure seems to increase discomfort.
Whether your pain is caused by an injury or a condition such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, there are ways to effectively manage the intensity of stiff, achy joints, making the chilly weather more bearable. Furthermore, there are longer-term solutions that may also reduce pain, especially if the joint pains are symptoms of an underlying condition. Dr. Fitzmaurice of the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix, AZ is a double board-certified, fellowship-trained hand surgeon who provides the best possible care because he has a passion for helping others. In his quest to provide the very highest standard of care, Dr. Fitzmaurice has pioneered several new techniques and procedures that improve visualization and reduce surgical impact, leading to optimal results with a rapid return to life, work, and activity.
While you may complain of joint pain more often during fall and winter than other seasons of the year, there is inadequate scientific research to justify why this is. Most people who have chronic joint disorders, however, will agree that there is a link between cold weather and joint pain.
The following are possible reasons for cold weather-related joint pain:
There are ways to curb an injury’s pain in the cold, helping improve day-to-day functionality and protecting those vulnerable joints.
Cold sensitivity is a common complaint following hand injuries. This may be especially true for those with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). There are two reasons for this condition: injured soft tissues or an inflammation that traps parts of the wrist and hand (pinched nerves), creating pressure on the blood vessels. When blood circulation is restricted, hands will get cold more quickly in cold weather. Therefore, along with numbness and tingling in the hand or arm, cold hands is a symptom of CTS. However, those with CTS will often experience chronic cold hands even in mild weather.
With limited blood flow, the hands not only become chronically cold, but they can also lack nutrients, leading to loss of feeling, clumsiness, and weakened grip strength.
If you are experiencing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it is best to be checked and treated by a top hand surgeon because symptoms can worsen and last a long time. Dr. Fitzmaurice is always pushing to expand the precision of hand surgery in Phoenix, AZ by innovating new techniques that improve visualization and enable more complete treatment using a minimally-invasive approach, helping you get back to your life more quickly and with optimal results. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated for CTS, the easier it can be treated.
Pain relief is possible. There are some lifestyle changes you can make to help manage joint pain during cold weather. In addition to pain medication, the following recommendations may help reduce your pain:
Preparation is key. If you are already aware of any injuries or if you’ve noticed persistent pain, swelling, inflammation, and other new symptoms that can’t be relieved by conservative treatments, seek medical attention. By getting treated early, you may be able to relieve joint pain symptoms or even eliminate them, decrease the likelihood of other complications, and avoid more invasive surgical procedures.
At the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand injuries may include:
At the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, our team strives to always administer the best, most effective care for our patients. We are committed to treating joint pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other hand, wrist, and elbow conditions by providing treatment that is optimally effective at providing relief and restoring hand function, helping you get back to regular life as quickly as possible.
Never dread the cold weather again by getting your hand injury or joint condition checked and treated. To learn more, contact the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix, AZ or call (480) 719-4750.