Managing Arthritis During the Winter Months
The Winter season is just around the corner in Charlotte and the Carolinas. For many, it’s a much-awaited season as it also signals the holidays and the turn of the year. The snow for sure is a sight to behold but the freezing temperature is not something everyone looks forward to. Unfortunately, the cold season is a time when people can experience heightened arthritis and other joint pain.
Why does the cold weather attribute to arthritis and joint pain symptoms? Does the weather have something to do with aggravating the pain or is it just a coincidence? Let’s look deeper into this.
Relation of Cold Weather and Joint Pain
As soon as the cool breeze of Autumn comes in, some start complaining about their body and joint pains. And when the winter locks in, it makes the matter worse–arthritis and its symptoms flare-up.
Millions of people around the world experience arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 23% of all adults in the US or over 54 million have arthritis. Arthritis sufferers claim that their symptoms get worse when it’s cold, especially during winters. Pain and swelling, they say, worsen when it’s cold.
The connection between joint pain and the cold weather is more experiential rather than a conclusive fact. It’s been a generational concept that when it’s cold, it brings along with it, seasonal illnesses, such as arthritis.
Some scientists believe that the changes in barometric pressure during cold weathers affect the joints. Other studies attribute it to the constriction of the blood vessels to keep the body warm and the activation of the nerves increases joint pain.
Does the Cold Weather Trigger Joint Pain and Arthritis?
People with arthritis believe that the cold weather is a trigger of their joint pain. That’s why they prefer warmer weather over the cold season. But what really happens when it’s cold? Let’s take the winter cold months as the case in point.
The sudden change in humidity during winter damages the bone cells and cartilage. This is the reason why cold weather causes arthritis to flare up. Another reason is that the body tends to be more sensitive during the cold season due to nerve stimulation. This only means that the joints are more sensitive and tender causing intense pain. The increase in blood flow when it’s cold also causes swelling and redness.
The reduction in physical activities can be a more logical explanation for the parallelism of arthritis and the cold weather. People tend to have less movement or activity when the temperature drops. They’d rather slouch or rest than exercise. For some reason, the cold weather seems to influence us psychologically as well. So when you’re least active, the joints stiffen which makes it more painful when you move.
Since cold weather can trigger arthritis, what can you do to minimize swelling and reduce the pain? Here are 5 effective ways to manage arthritis and its symptoms.
5 Simple Ways to Reduce Arthritis Symptoms During Cold Months
Winter is here to stay for a while. Nothing we can do but to adjust and find ways to combat the cold and ease off arthritis symptoms. So, here we give you some tips to prepare for the winter as you deal with joint pain and arthritis.
1. Be active
Don’t let the cold climate be your trigger to become lazy. Instead, be more active and exercise. Just keep moving. Do some stretching, a quick jog or yoga poses to help avoid muscle and joint stiffness. Do them regularly and you’ll observe arthritis symptoms barred to a minimum.
2. Massage the affected area
You can do this yourself or ask a family member to massage you. If you have extra money, pay for a professional massage therapy session. Why? Because a massage gets the blood flowing which will keep your joints warm. Aside from that, a massage can help with stiff muscles and loosens the joints.
3. Dress warmer
Wear several layers of clothes or choose a warmer fabric to forbid the cold spell. Having enough insulation will not just keep you comfortable during the winter season but more so will relieve your joint pain. You can add scarves, socks, mittens or jackets for layering and more covering.
Talking about clothes, there are shirts, leggings and gloves that can be used by people with arthritis. It will be best to wear them during the cold months.
4. Eating warm, nutritious food
Nourish yourself especially during the cold months by eating a balanced meal. Remember that what you eat can influence your arthritis. It can either help or worsen the condition. So make sure you eat food that can help avoid arthritis and its symptoms. Get sufficient calcium and vitamin D from the foods that you eat and take supplements if needed.
Warm meals are best in cold weather. It may not have a direct impact on arthritis but warm foods can provide comfort from the cold.
5. Have a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can spell success in preventing or fighting arthritis and its symptoms. Start adopting habits to help you deal better with the condition. Eat healthy, exercise, lose excess weight and get complete sleep. These can have a positive impact on your arthritis and overall health.
Get Winter-Ready by Seeking Your Doctor’s Advice
If you already have arthritis or starting to experience symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor to prepare you for the winter months. Of course, you should be getting regular check-ups but the cold months can possibly make your condition worse.
So while the cold is just starting to peek in, schedule a trip to see your physician.
Joint Pain Management with Advanced Sports & Spine
If you’re in Charlotte and nearby areas, you never have to worry about the coming winter and your arthritis. The #1 non-surgical pain management in Charlotte is just a call away. We can definitely help you manage arthritis and its symptoms with our joint pain treatments and therapies. Book your appointment today!