When the temperature outside drops, many arthritis sufferers report worsening of symptoms, such as pain and stiffness. Changes in temperature, barometric pressure and activity levels associated with the winter season make it more difficult for most people affected with arthritis to manage joint health. But despite these challenges that come with winter, there are ways to keep your joints healthy and flexible when the weather gets cold. From the clothes you wear, to the food you eat, to your activity levels, there are many things you can do to avoid stiffness and pain in your joints. To help keep your joints healthy this winter season, here are a couple of simple tips that you can follow.
Enrich your diet with super-foods
Numerous studies report that people with rheumatoid arthritis often suffer from nutritional deficiencies, despite eating a balanced diet. Those with different types of arthritis, most notably osteoarthritis, also were found to be deficient in certain key nutrients. For this reason, boosting your intake of super-foods that are packed with beneficial nutrients can help with arthritis symptoms, since nutritional deficiencies are associated with disease severity. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains are the best options for arthritis sufferers looking for ways to boost their nutrient intake. But specific foods such as oatmeal, chia seeds, blueberries, olive oil, and turmeric can give you a punch of health benefits because they contain ingredients that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Both characteristics are known to mitigate joint pain.
Keep yourself cozy with wool
Studies show that arthritis sufferers report worsening of joint pain during cold and humid weather. However, researchers do not know exactly how the cold weather leads to joint pain. A possible explanation could be that the cold irritates nerve endings in joint tissue, making pain worse. The changes in barometric pressure when the temperature changes also explains why people tend to feel weather shifts in their joints. One way to address this problem is wearing woolen clothing, because wool is one of the best winter insulating fabrics. Wool also has a unique ability to stay dry, even when humidity increases. People with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis will find that wool gloves help keep their hands mobile and reduce stiffness when outside on a snowy day. Other fabrics to consider are down fleece and Gortex.
Yoga and indoor swimming
Although most people tend to hibernate when the temperature drops below freezing, arthritis sufferers should keep in mind that moving less can lead to greater joint stiffness. Gentle yoga stretching, followed by relaxation practices such as meditation, can ease the stress of joint pain. Another great option is indoor pools or even hot springs, if you have any in your area. Swimming moves all major muscle groups in your body, flexes your joints, and the water’s buoyancy helps reduce the weight of your body, making for easier movement. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found that exercise therapy mitigates pain, improves muscle strength and improves functioning in people with arthritis. Gentle exercising options such as the ones suggested here seem to be better options for arthritis sufferers.
Consider topical treatments
You probably already are taking medication for your arthritis year-round. To help mitigate joint pain more quickly, try topical treatments this winter. These arthritis treatment options work best on joints that are close to the skin. Many contain gentle pain relieving and numbing ingredients that are absorbed easily by the skin, such as capsaicin, salicylates, and menthol. These options are safe when used according to directions and provide instant pain relief without the risk of side effects. But there also are stronger options, with ingredients that only can be prescribed by your doctor, such as Voltaren Gel or Pennsaid topical solution. You can ask your doctor to prescribe you a topical pain reliever or buy over-the-counter creams for pain relief. Studies on these drugs found that they were a safe alternative to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and that they are able to provide significant pain relief.
Arthritis pain becomes especially noticeable during cold and humid weather. The way these weather changes affect nerve endings and shifting barometric pressure are two reasons why people with arthritis experience greater problems during winter. However, with the right treatment options, even people suffering from nagging arthritis pain can enjoy the joys of winter. From eating nutritiously-dense foods to using topical treatments such as JointFlex, there are many ways to keep joint pain at bay. But gentle exercise is also important to maintain your joint flexibility and to reduce stress, which also happens to be a major cause of arthritis pain. Make sure to follow each tip listed here, and we’re sure you’ll be able to manage the pain from arthritis despite the cold winter weather.