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Cold Weather and Parkinson’s Symptoms

Posted on November 12, 2019

If you find your Parkinson’s disease symptoms are worse in cold weather, you’re not alone. Many members on MyParkinsonsTeam note greater stiffness, pain, and other symptoms during the winter months. Parkinson’s disease (PD) impacts a person’s ability to regulate body temperature, which makes some people with PD more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.

Winter weather is extremely unpleasant for some members on MyParkinsonsTeam. “This winter when the temperature dropped to [below zero], I experienced greater pain, stiffness, freezing, and slowness,” one member posted. “It was so overwhelming I could not find any remedies except five blankets. The pain was surprising.”

Several other members mentioned that cold temperatures can cause or worsen pain related to Parkinson’s disease. “I get cold very easily and I shiver,” a member wrote. “Because I am stiff it actually hurts to be cold.” Others agreed, “My back and neck are excruciatingly painful, more so than usual.”

Cold weather can also exacerbate Parkinson’s tremors. One member commented, “I have found that my shivering to stay warm makes my tremors worse.” Another MyParkinsonsTeam member added, “I also struggle with the cold now. It brings on my tremor, so I always have to stay warm.”

Some MyParkinsonsTeam members didn’t know about the impact of cold on PD until other members raised the issue. “I thought I was alone with my symptoms,” a member wrote in response to a question about cold weather.

Members on MyParkinsonsTeam share tips for dealing with cold weather. Their suggestions include:

  • Dressing in layers: “I have to remember to dress appropriately for the weather and dress in layers,” shared a member who struggles with cold temperatures. Another member suggests thermal underwear for the colder months.
  • Pockets: “I usually wear a sweatshirt with front pockets to keep both hands warm,” wrote a member whose hands are always chilly.
  • Electric blankets: “I cover up with electric blankets for the warmth,” one member recommended. A caregiver suggests turning on an electric blanket before it’s needed: “I try to remember to preheat the bed with the electric blanket about 30 minutes before he goes to bed.”
  • Reusable heat packs: “I would heat up one of those therapy bags (with rice in them) and put it under my feet,” a member suggested to another struggling with icy feet.
  • Hot bath or swimming pool: One member recommends hot baths for combatting cold, “I get into a hot tub of water when I really get to hurting [from cold].” Another recommends swimming in a heated pool, “I am able to go to a 90-degree (Fahrenheit) pool year-round and swim or exercise.”

On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with and caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Cold weather is a frequently discussed topic.

Here are a couple conversations about cold weather and Parkinson’s symptoms:

Here are a couple question-and-answer threads about cold weather and Parkinson’s symptoms:

Does cold weather exacerbate your Parkinson’s symptoms? Share your thoughts and experiences below in the comments. You can also join or log in to post on MyParkinsonsTeam.

A MyParkinsonsTeam Member said:

I used to love to cross country skiing, haven't been in years if you don't count going last winter. I went once with a dear old friend. I stayed up and made the course but no thought of going back… read more

posted about 1 month ago

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