LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Cold weather can impact a lot of different things, from road conditions to bursting pipes, and health officials say the weather can even affect a person's body.
Dr. Wayne Johnson at Comanche County Memorial Hospital said he saw an increase of patients complaining about joint pain during the fall and winter months. He said there are things anyone suffering from joint pain can do to get their blood flowing and help with the ache.
"Warm up, stretch, dress in layers, not to remain out in the cold too long to remain overexposed," he said.
Not spending too much time outside in the cold is also important to reducing joint pain.
"You're going to have some stiffness the longer that you're out in the elements because again some of the blood supply will probably go to the central, core part of your body," Dr. Johnson said.
Dr. Johnson said there hasn't been a conclusive study on why the cold affects joints — but he said one theory is a change in pressure affects the body.
"if you have some damage or irritation to your cartilage the change in the pressure may affect the nerve endings which may translate to pain in your joint," he said.
Experts also believe that in cold weather, bodies are focused on bringing blood to the heart, lungs, and brain to make sure it functions properly — therefore, it's not giving as much blood to joints.
"And as a result that can end up making a person feel stiffness achiness, and/or pain," Dr. Johnson said.
He also explained some strategies to alleviate joint pain, such as hydration.
"If you're well hydrated, your blood will circulate better so it will also bring warmth to the rest of your body as well," he said.
He said if pain continues for a more than a few days — or if someone has joint pain not associated with the cold — a visit to the doctor's office is in order.