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Why Shoulder Joint Pain Occurs in Winter or Cold Weather?

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Why Shoulder Joint Pain Occurs in Winter or Cold Weather?

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 12/07/2022 by Dr. Hitesh Joshi


Winters can be harsh on orthopedics patients making it difficult for them to perform everyday tasks. You may often experience shoulder pain or body aches as you step out in the cold temperatures during your walks or getting groceries.

Moreover, for patients suffering from chronic joint pains, performing daily tasks such as showering, getting dressed, driving, carrying groceries, and even sleeping may seem impossible in cold weather. The temperature does affect our bodies due to certain factors that are explained in the blog later. 

Why does shoulder joint pain occur in winter?

While there is a large population that remains immune to the misery of shoulder pain in winter, there’s always a slight probability of cold weather affecting your joints. Here are some reasons that may cause neck and shoulder pain in winter.

  • Change in barometric pressure in winter

Barometric pressure constitutes the weight of air surrounding us. During cold seasons, the air pressure falls which leads to the expansion of the soft tissue and ligaments around the shoulder causing pain and stiffness. 

  • Increased sensitivity from cold weather

Cold weather usually causes sensitivity, especially in patients with underlying conditions like rheumatoid arthritis which can cause difficulty in performing everyday tasks. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to muscle stiffness and swelling. 

  • Physical inactivity during cold winter

The majority of us are lethargic in cold temperatures which can make us physically inactive for a long period of time. Many of us are usually delighted by the idea of being bundled up inside the house than going out for a run or doing minimal exercise. In long term, this can result in increased stiffness and body aches. 

  • Increased stress from cold weather

Stress can be there throughout the year. People may have deadlines to meet or expenditures to manage which can be a stressful time of the year. Long working hours and sitting in the same position for long periods can pose strain and tension on your shoulders. 

  • Age factor and cold weather 

Older people are always more prone to joint pains and other orthopedics conditions. In cold weather, it also means more stiffness and joint pain. Aged people in your home usually require more attention and prevention against injuries and other medical conditions. 

How to prevent shoulder joint pain in winter?

Depending on the intensity of pain or any existing medical condition, the doctor may recommend several home remedies and coping mechanisms which can help manage shoulder pain in winter. 

  • Lifestyle changes include encouraging simple exercises. Stretching exercises can increase blood flow and alleviate shoulder joint pain in winter. 
  • Free weight exercises and resistance bands are excellent to strengthen your muscles and increase bone density. 
  • Apply heated packs or get a massage which can make your joints feel healthy and prevent stiffness. 
  • Get regular health checkups from the doctor. 
  • Maintain a balanced diet and avoid strenuous activities.

How to treat shoulder joint pain in winter?

Shoulder pain treatment is usually based on the existing medical condition of the patient. While some shoulder pains are moderate and can be managed by medicines and therapies, severe pain may require medical attention. The treatment aims to restore shoulder functionality to help you perform everyday tasks with ease. It can either include therapies like physical and occupational or surgical interventions like arthroscopy. People often experience increase pain in the shoulder in winter which can affect their daily lifestyle. Undergoing the treatment restores muscle flexibility and movement for long-term health benefits.

If you are experiencing severe shoulder pain and find it difficult to perform tasks like bathing, sleeping, driving, etc. then you must consult an orthopedic specialist. The doctor diagnoses the problem and offers the best course of treatment.