Colder Weather, Painful Joints

For some people, a side effect of arthritis is the uncanny ability to detect oncoming cold weather. The pain tends to get worse around wintertime, and this is not a figment of the imagination. Arthritis is the wear and tear of cartilage and bone in the joints. Over 50 million Americans suffer from one of the many forms of this condition. The side effects of arthritis include chronic pain, stiffness, and weakness. Arthritis in winter weather can feel unbearable, but there are effective ways to manage these symptoms.

Why so painful?

There is a connection between arthritic pain and wet or cold weather. Scientists have found several reasons that may contribute to the increase in pain. Joints have synovial fluid that lubricates the joints and helps with shock absorption. As temperatures plummet, the synovial fluid becomes more viscous, making joints more painful. Joints and tendons tend to expand as the surrounding pressure drops slightly during the cold. These changes can make an already damaged joint feel more painful.

How can you manage these spikes in pain?

The increase in weather does not cause arthritis but makes existing symptoms worse. Some people with arthritis are even unable to perform everyday tasks during the winter. Despite the challenges, all is not lost. There are a few steps that can help keep joints loose and pain-free. If these steps fail, visit a doctor for more guidance.

Bundle up and stay dry

This tip may sound obvious, but staying warm and dry can be a game-changer. Joints often operate better in warmer, dry climates. Make sure to layer up when leaving home. Inside the home, use heaters and electric blankets, especially at night. Arthritis patients should also have heating pads to treat severe pain. Staying warm is one of the best ways to manage arthritic pain.

Keep moving

Exercise is a highly recommended treatment option for arthritis. Staying active becomes even more vital in the cold winter months. The cold can lower the motivation to exercise or keep moving. However, exercise can keep joints lubricated and strengthen surrounding muscles for additional support. Join a gym or local exercise class appropriate for age and fitness level. If leaving home is difficult, simply walking inside the house and performing stretching exercises can help.

Boost your D

Studies show that vitamin D is an essential part of managing arthritic pain. Vitamin D processes calcium and can help prevent thinning bones and painful joints. Most Americans do not get much sunshine and vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common.

A healthy diet matters

Vitamin D is just one of many essential vitamins and minerals necessary for joint health. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for fighting inflammation. Foods like nuts, fatty fish, berries, and leafy greens are essential. On the other hand, excess salt, alcohol, processed foods, and some meats increase inflammation. Aim for a healthy, balanced diet.

Regenerative medicine

Stem cells and platelets are rich in growth factors. Through plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injection therapy, many people have experienced ease of inflammation and pain. PRP therapy prompts the development of new, healthier cells. Using regenerative medicine to improve the quality of life and function in arthritic joints is one of the most promising treatments for arthritis. There are many pain management options available for the treatment of arthritis. Living in pain does not need to be the only option for people with arthritis.