For many people increased leg pain during winters is a very common occurrence. As the temperature begins to drop, the ache in their legs starts to elevate, which at times is even accompanied by some swelling. . Generally, older people can be seen getting a sharp shooting pain in their legs and knee joints when the temperature drops suddenly. To some people it may just be an ‘old wives tale’, but it actually does have some logical and scientific validity.
Cold weather leg cramps are a common complaint in the winter. Some people even claim they can “feel” when snow is approaching, because of the aches and pains in their legs. Cold weather leg cramps have less to do with the temperature and more to do with the habits we take on when the weather grows cold, and we spend less time outdoors and more time snuggled up on the sofa. With a slight adjustment in lifestyle, you can minimize the pain of cold weather leg cramps.
Problems faced during winters and their Scientific reason Behind scene:
1. Arthritis:- Osteoarthritis and other joint pains tend to flare-up during the winters or the rainy season, as there is a sudden drop in the barometric pressure before the rain or when there is a severe change in the surrounding temperature. The decrease in air pressure causes the tissues to swell more, and thus this may be the reason why you may experience more pain.
2. Sciatica:- Sciatica nerves are the longest in the body and if any of these 5 nerves get compressed due to any reason it causes a severe pain and an uncomfortable condition. Cold weather, in particular, worsens the pain, as the muscles tend to stiffen up more and become tense.
3. Muscle Spasms:- Loss of heat occurs during winters so as to balance body temperature, and as a result of this the muscles tend to contract which causes extreme stiffness all over the body, forcing the muscles to exert more pressure even in the everyday works that were accomplished easily earlier. This can cause soreness in the muscles and increase the amount of pain in the legs. To reduce the chances of getting muscle spasms, make sure to incorporate more of warmup exercises.
4. Fibromyalgia:- Many a times, you may be suffering from this condition and may not be able to understand the real problem behind why your legs pain more during winters, as you tend to associate it with some kind of joint or muscle problem. This pain eventually spreads to the other parts of the body and its diagnosis may get delayed due to ignorance. It can also cause some sleep difficulties, and hence it calls for the attention of a specialist.
5. Intense Physical Exertion:- Winters and snow can lead you to exert more amount of physical pressure on your body than it is used to. Even just the shoveling of the snow, which does not usually take a lot of effort, can cause you to develop pain in the legs during winters.
6. Dehydration:- People tend to drink lesser amounts of water during the winters, hence this can lead to a loss of the required amounts of fluids in their body. The muscles which are already stiff, due to the colder temperature, tend to become tighter and more painful during the winters. To prevent this condition, always keep your fluid intake in check, as it is required by your body.
Precautions in winters to avoid pain:-

1.  If your leg muscles are sore from sitting too long, they need to be stretched, especially if you are active during the warmer months and then slow down when it gets cold.
2. Massage the sore area gently with your hand. Relieve pain by gently massaging the sore muscles, and then applying a cold compress or heating pad.
3. Drink more water. Dehydration is a frequent cause of muscular cramps. It is common for people to stop drinking as much during the cold months, or to begin drinking the wrong things. Hot chocolate is fine, but you still need 8 glasses of water a day.
4. If you need something hot to warm you up uncaffeinated tea can count toward your 8 servings of water.
5. Take a warm bath or shower. This will help relax your muscles and your mind.
6. If you still need relief, take an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or Aleve. In some severe cases, it may be necessary to see your doctor to get a prescription pain medication.


Author: Dr. Megha Sharma