During the winter months, the cold temperatures can contribute to increased discomfort for people who suffer from aches and pains. The low temperatures can cause joints to expand, stiffen up and become more sensitive to pain. This could exacerbate arthritis and make the symptoms worse.
The pain of arthritis is usually caused by different factors including:
• Inflammation in a joint
• Muscle strain
• Damage to joint tissues
Besides medications, there are several other measures that can help you deal with the pain. Below are a few steps you can take to reduce arthritis pain in the winter.
Manage Arthritis Pain in the Winter
When you have arthritis, you should keep the affected joints warm when it is cold outside. Use gloves to protect your hands, and add extra layers over your knees and legs. Depending on the severity of the condition, you can soak in a hot tub or swim in a heated pool as a way of lessening the discomfort caused by low temperatures.
Eat a healthy diet
It is common for people to overindulge their sweet tooth during the holiday season. However, such foods can cause arthritis to flare up, resulting in more pain. To manage the pain of arthritis and avoid other health issues, it is important to focus on eating a healthy diet. You should also get enough vitamin D through vitamin D-fortified foods or supplements to help reduce your sensitivity to pain.
Stay hydrated and safe
During the cold winter months, sweat evaporates faster and more fluids are lost when you breathe. This can be dangerous because your body will not sense thirst when temperatures are chillier. Dehydration will make pain levels worse, effectively increasing the discomfort you experience. You should stay hydrated and protect your joints from damage.
Stay active and exercise
Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to manage the pain of arthritis. Staying active will improve your physical function, allowing you to remain strong and flexible despite the cold weather. Consider creating an indoor exercise plan to avoid exposing yourself to the harsh weather.
Maintain a healthy weight
Staying indoors for an extended period of time can take a toll on your joints. Weight gain resulting from inactivity will stress the already painful joints and make arthritis pain worse. This is why you should keep an eye on the scale to ensure your weight is within the healthy range. You may also want to get your stress under control to lower the risk of an arthritis flare.
Get a massage
The pain associated with arthritis comes from the affected joint or the muscles around the joint. When you have limited exercise options due to cold weather, you can get a massage to help reduce the pain. One hour of massage every week for a period of eight weeks will help increase the strength and flexibility of your joints.
If symptoms persist or get worse, you should seek professional help. At Southeast Pain and Spine Care, we use advanced pain management techniques to deliver quality, non-surgical pain relief. Contact us to make an appointment and access our professional services.