People with arthritis have claimed for years that they could predict cold, damp weather by the pain in their joints. Experts used to believe their claims were just old wives’ tales. Increasingly, science and research is backing up these claims.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a catch-all phrase for joint disease and/or joint pain. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, in addition to a number of related conditions. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is also known as degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs from wear-and-tear as the cushioning at the ends of the bones wears away.
Arthritis is a condition that is shared by millions of people around the world. Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Depending on the type and severity, the symptoms range from mild to moderate or severe. For some people, the pain of arthritis is constant. For others, it comes and goes. Everyone with arthritis isn’t affected by the cold. For those who are, the winter months make it even more challenging to manage their joint pain.
If being cold causes pain, common sense demands that you bundle up and stay warm. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict how high or low the temperatures will go. The best approach is to dress in layers. Then, you can add on or take off layers as needed to keep you comfortable.
Regular exercise is one way that people with arthritis help to reduce joint inflammation. Once it gets cold, you might forego your regular activities to avoid cold temperatures outside. Giving up your exercise plan can add to your joint pain. Take your exercise routine indoors until the temperatures warm back up. Go to the gym or go for long walks inside your local mall. If time won’t allow, consider investing in a treadmill for your home. Treadmills tend to get used more than other types of gym equipment and walking is a great choice for arthritic joints.
Don’t slack on your intake of water, either. You need to stay hydrated during the winter to help keep you active. Dehydration can also add to your pain.
Monitor Your Weight
Any time activity levels decrease, you’re at a greater risk of gaining weight. It’s easier to keep extra pounds off during the summer when you’re active. Cold temperatures can tempt you into eating more high-calorie comfort foods without any means to burn the extra calories off.
Obesity plays a large role in arthritis joint pain, especially in the knees. The more weight you have on the knee joints, the more severe the pain and stiffening of the knees will be. If you need to lose a few pounds, don’t wait until summer. Develop a winter weight loss plan that includes a healthy diet and exercise. Develop your plan around the cold weather instead of the other way around.
Consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your plan. Experts continue to learn new benefits for this essential vitamin, including its ability to help reduce your risk for osteoporosis. Since you’re less likely to spend enough time in the sun during the winter to get the vitamin naturally, you may need to take a supplement. Fish oil is another good supplement to add to your diet. The Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation.
The same soak in the hot tub or spa that makes you feel pampered can also help relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Those with powerful water jets deliver the best hydrotherapy experience.
Regular massages are another indulgence with therapeutic benefits. Although acupuncture may not feel quite as luxurious as either of the previous options, many people swear by it for reducing arthritis pain.
Protect Your Joints
Even if you aren’t sensitive to cold weather, take extra care when you are on wet, icy surfaces. Wearing the right kind of shoes or boots can help. Any kind of damage to your joints will add to the symptoms of arthritis.
If you’re having problems with joint pain, make an appointment with Capital Ortho today. Our orthopaedic specialists provide evaluations as well as treatment options for arthritis. There is help for your arthritic pain.