Dress warmly, work out inside, and get enough vitamin D. These are some of the ways you can get arthritis pain relief despite the bone-chilling cold of winter weather.
Many people with arthritis swear by the pain in their joints as a predictor of rainy or cold weather.
Whether the joint pain/weather connection is scientifically true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain-relief tips when your aching joints act up in winter.
1. Dress Warmly
If it’s cold outside, keep aching hands warm with gloves, and add extra layers over knees and legs.
2. Layer Up
It's important to wear lots of layers so you can control your comfort level when temperatures shift dramatically during the day. For example, layer a few pairs of gloves on your hands and peel them off as needed.
Staying hydrated helps you to stay active. Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain.
4. Lose Weight
An article highlighted the significant improvement people with knee arthritis can get from weight loss, from diet, and exercise.
5. Exercise Inside
While it's understandable to want to avoid winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function. Come up with an indoor exercise plan.
6. Let Warm Water Comfort You
Swimming in a heated pool is both great exercise and soothing to joints. You can also get relief from warm baths. Just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak. Let your body temperature normalize a bit first.
7. Supplement Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D might play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk for osteoporosis. You're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods.
8. Stay Safe
Particularly when the weather turns icy, people with arthritis need to protect their joints from further damage. If you’re going outside, pick solid, supportive shoes with good treads and try to walk on a surface that doesn’t look slick.
9. Add Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids do have some benefit because they seem to reduce the level of inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends up to 2.6 grams of fish oil capsules twice a day. Make sure to let your doctor know if you try omega-3s, as they can increase the risk for bruising or bleeding.
10. Consider Acetaminophen or NSAIDs
Even if you prefer to treat your joint pain with lifestyle changes rather than medication, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever when your joint pain seems to worsen with the weather.
11. Get a Massage
Indulge yourself and get a massage. A lot of what’s happening in terms of pain is that some is emanating from the joint and some from the muscles around the joint. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain.
12. Go Under the Needle
Acupuncture is another option for those willing to consider non-traditional treatments. It does seem patients derive some benefit with regard to pain. You also might find the process relaxing and feel generally healthier.
For more information on treating arthritis pain this winter, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.