There’s a winter storm coming through this week and it’s no secret that the winter weather can increase joint pain and stiffness for those with arthritis. Arthritic pain is increased during the colder months is because when there is a drop in the atmospheric pressure, our body tissues tend to swell and inflame, causing pain in our joints. The cold weather also reduces blood circulation in our fingers and toes, which stiffens our movements in joints, making life more painful if you live with arthritis.
The winter may be tough for someone trying to manage arthritic joint pain, but below are a few quick things to remember when it comes to making the cold weather softer on your joints.
It’s common that most people tend to be less active in the winter, but if you are someone with arthritis, it is important to continue to be active all year round, including the winter months. Exercising helps ease pain, increases strength, flexibility, and help joint stiffness.
TIP: Find exercises that suit you. There are plenty that can be found online through Pinterest and YouTube. If this is too difficult to do on your own, confide in an exercise buddy/program.
Keep Warm Inside
As silly as this may sound, keeping warm is a very good suggestion to follow. Heat boosts blood flow in our bodies and relaxes our muscles, decreasing the stiffness in our joints.
TIP: When you are home, make sure to use a heated blanket, hand/feet warmers or take warm baths to stimulate blood flow as often as you can.
Stay Warm Outside
Bundle up in layers to help you keep warm and make sure to keep your extremities covered!
TIP: Always make sure to wear a scarf and gloves when going outdoors, even if it’s just to run to the store. Warm muscles tend to be more relaxed, making it easier to move.
Beware of Slips
Depending on where you live, the winter weather can make the roads and walkways dangerous to use. Always use caution when walking up or down slippery steps or slope.
TIP: When leaving the house, make sure you have a good set of shoes on. If it's snowy, stay on cleared paths. If you need more stability, considering using a cane to keep you more stable on your feet.
Get Some Vitamin D
Having a deficiency of vitamin D can play a part in the amount of pain you can feel. Vitamin D is produced when our bodies hit the sunlight, and naturally, people in the cold months seem to have an overall decrease in vitamin D sufficiency. This is also another reason why people experience more pain in the winter months vs the summer ones.
TIP: Try increasing your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, avocado and flaxseed. Foods like these are known to help with inflammation. Please note: This is just a suggestion, always speak with your doctor before making any lifestyle/diet changes to ensure it’s the best solution for you.