Melbourne Winter and our Poor Aching Joints

Many of my patients tell me that they are really suffering more because of the cold weather. Some say while they escaped to Queensland for a holiday they had no pain at all in their joints and as soon as they arrived back to cold Melbourne winter, it all started again.

Why does this happen?

The answer to this question is not really simple and there is no consensus as to why this occurs.

Let’s look at some of the probable explanations:

One theory is that of Barometric pressure (air pressure changes).

Some of us will have experienced the ‘old swollen ankles’ when we travel by plane. This is because we sit a lot but also because the cabin pressure, although pressurised, is still lower than at sea level. This allows our joints to swell and expand.

Our joints are surrounded by tissue that forms a small balloon like structure.

When there is bad weather, there tends to be a drop in the air pressure outside our body that allows the capsule to swell. This may put pressure on nerves etc and trigger pain.

The other theory is that the cold triggers changes in the body that amplify the pain signals coming from the joint.

In this case we simply are more sensitive to the pain or nerve damage we already have.

The easiest fix is to move to Queensland, at least in the winter, and in fact some do this. For those of us that are stuck in Melbourne, the best we can do is to keep moving and rug up. What would we have to complain about in Melbourne, but for the weather?