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Why Cold Weather Worsens Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Injury Columbus OH

Weather changes affect chronic pain, especially in the joints. When the temperature and barometric pressure decrease, we often hear more complaints of pain at Cohen Orthopedic because the cold stiffens muscles, joints and ligaments. Your tissues may swell due to the lower pressure, irritating the joints, and the damp cold during Ohio winters may exacerbate the discomfort. 

Chronic shoulder pain may be a sign of an injury that can worsen over time, such as a muscle tear or rotator cuff injury that requires surgery. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Brian Cohen, our world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, to evaluate your shoulder pain.

Shoveling Snow Puts Added Stress on the Shoulders 

Shoulder injuries such as a rotator cuff strain or tear can occur due to shoveling snow, especially if you’re pushing yourself too hard and decide to clear the entire sidewalk. Snow shoveling and snowblower injuries happen across Ohio every year. In 2018 alone, 137,000 of these injuries occurred in the United States. 

The repetitive action of lifting and throwing piles of snow with a shovel puts strain on your shoulder muscles, tendons and ligaments — especially if you do not stretch properly beforehand. Throwing snow over your shoulder can increase your risk of shoulder problems, and the activity may cause inflammation in the joint. 

A Pre-Existing Medical Condition

People with arthritis are especially prone to increased joint pain in cold, stormy weather. Some patients even claim they can predict a weather change based on worsening joint pain and stiffness. Three research studies have found that weather matters for arthritis patients. A rise or drop in barometric pressure and increased humidity can increase pain and stiffness, and one study associated higher wind speed with arthritis pain. 

Less Exercise Equals Muscle Stiffness 

The colder months make finding the motivation to work out challenging. A warm fireplace with a good book or friends and family are more enticing than running in freezing temperatures. Less exercise in the winter months can worsen shoulder pain because the lower temperature already causes muscle stiffness. Inactivity tightens your muscles along with the cold air. 

You can reduce muscle stiffness through regular exercise that promotes blood flow and workouts with free weights and resistance bands that stretch the shoulders. 

Contact Cohen Orthopedic About Your Shoulder Pain 

Don’t ignore worsening shoulder pain, as it could be a sign of an injury that won’t improve without treatment or surgery. Dr. Cohen has treated more than 100,000 patients worldwide and specializes in shoulder repair. He uses the most advanced technologies, including Atreon Orthopedia for rotator cuff repairs, a common shoulder injury. 

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Cohen in Columbus today.

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