Why Does the Cold Make your Muscles Stiff – and How Can you Relieve This?
As the trees lose their leaves and colder weather well and truly sets in for the winter, you might find aches and pains you didn’t have in the summer come to the fore.
The, perhaps, sensible among us may choose to head off to warmer climes to enjoy some winter sun, but for those left behind, how do we get rid of these aches and pains from the cold? Let’s take a look…
It seems the colder you feel, the more your muscles tense up in your shoulders, your back, your legs, your arms and more…
This is not just your imagination, it’s a physical side effect that the cold has on us. Cold weather causes our blood vessels to constrict as they try to hold in the heat and this reduces blood flow, and thus oxygen flow, throughout the body. To try to protect its core, the body draws all the warm, oxygenated blood inwards, away from the arms, legs and muscles, to power the main organs, the heart, the lungs etc meaning the rest of our body loses heat and oxygen. This reduction in blood flow causes our muscles to contract and stiffen. You may also feel stiffening and loss of range of motion in your joints too, especially if you suffer from arthritis as arthritic joints often become inflamed when cold.
If you exercise, you will know that you need to be especially careful to warm up your muscles before starting your exercise routine in the winter; this is because if you don’t, your cold, oxygen starved, constricted muscles may damage and tear more easily than if they are properly warmed up.
Heat and Cold Therapy – Should I use ice or heat for my muscle pain?
So, as well as keeping warm and warming up properly, how else can you treat those cold, tight and sore muscles?
Our top tip is to use a gel-filled heat pad, like our Muzamedical Reusable Hot & Cold Gel Pack either on its own or in a sleeve to hold the heat pad in place.
On the other hand, if you have inflamed, swollen joints due to arthritis you need to avoid heat and use cold packs instead to help reduce the inflammation. It is not advisable to use heat for joint pain as it will make swelling and inflammation worse.
Heat boosts the flow of blood to an area, so is perfect for relieving muscle contractions, menstrual cramps and stiffness caused by the cold and also for warming up cold muscles.
In almost all other instances ice or a cold pack is the best route to pain relief, this is because cold slows blood flow to an area, and this can help reduce swelling and pain.
Our reusable hot/cold therapy pack will help soothe muscular discomfort and help to reduce swelling and bruising. Top features include:
- The hot pack will assist in increasing circulation, with temporary relief to muscle aches, back pain, sinusitis or menstrual cramps.
- The cold pack** will assist in temporarily reducing swelling, toothache, headache and fever.
- Ideal for use on a sports injury to help reduce the pain. Use cold to reduce swelling and hot to increase circulation to the injured area.
- The gel pack can be used on its own or can be held in place by one of our Hot and Cold Gel Pack sleeves (see below) which come in different colours and sizes.
Emdiq White Sleeve for Hot & Cold Gel Pack by Muzamedical
The Emdiq White Compression Sleeve provides a barrier between hot/cold pack with your skin to dissipate the risk of heat/freeze burns and also prevent cross contamination.
- Soft, light airy material
- Lightweight stretchable band
- Most suitable for holding hot/cold pack in place on smaller limbs, elbow, neck, ankle, forehead, wrist
Pouch size: 32cm x 15cm
Emdiq Adjustable Sleeve for Hot & Cold Gel Pack by Muzamedical
The band offers maximum flexibility and comfort wrapping around limbs, neck, ankle, elbow, forehead, shoulder & waist.
- Wide stretchable hook & loop band that also stick on itself
- Soft mesh backing sleeve allow heat/cold temperature to penetrate injured area for effective pain relief treatment
Band width 8cm
Pouch size 28cm x 15cm
Max waist size up to 101cm (40")
Out hot/cold therapy products are really effective at relieving many types of pain – they are also a perfect gift idea for anyone who might suffer pain whether from a sporting injury, a fall, the cold weather or more.
However, if these simple measures aren't enough to relieve your pain, it’s possible you need a proper medical evaluation of the cause of your pain, so do get in touch with your GP if you have any concerns.