Eight tips to ease joint pain and get through winter
With a slight chill in the air, it’s safe to say that winter is coming – and that can be bad news for people who experience joint pain, especially if you can feel the change of the seasons in your bones.
Science hasn’t homed in on the reason that cold weather can exacerbate joint pain and stiffness, but there are a few possible explanations.
A fall in barometric pressure, which often occurs as a cold front approaches, can cause joints to expand, which may result in pain. Low temps may also increase the thickness of the synovial fluid that acts as the joint’s shock absorber, which makes joints stiffer and more sensitive to pain. Winter even seems to affect us down to our DNA.
The good news: Winter doesn’t have to be season of your discontent if you’re experiencing joint pain and stiffness. I’ve put together some tips to help you stay healthy, safe and ease pain as the temperature continues to drop.
Take a warm bath – Simply bathing in warm water can help ease pressure on aching joints, reducing swelling and inflammation.
A warm bath can ease the symptoms of many types of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and low back pain.
Ideally, water should not be too hot or cold, but just warm enough to comfortably relax in it for 20 minutes. Try some gentle stretches after bathing to keep the joints and muscles supple for longer.
Keep warm – Heat is like a spring thaw for your stiff joints. It boosts blood flow to help flush out pain-producing chemicals and stimulates receptors in your skin that improve your pain tolerance. Warmth also relaxes muscles and reduces stiffness.
There are many ways to reap the benefits of heat therapy: a warm shower or soak in a tub (dress warmly afterward to prolong the benefit), heating pads, electric blankets, and single-use hand and feet warmers that you can slip into your gloves, pockets, or shoes. Even wrapping your hands around a hot cup of coffee or tea and warming up the car before hitting the road can be helpful in your quest to ease joint pain.
Carry thermal gloves with you – Wearing waterproof, insulated gloves can protect the joints from cold and damp conditions.
When choosing gloves, make sure that they allow your hands to bend without too much resistance. This makes it possible to grip things without putting too much pressure on the joints.
If you struggle to find a good pair of thermal gloves, mittens tend to be warmer than gloves because your fingers generate more heat when they’re not separated from each other by fabric, as they are with gloves.
Take it easy on icy pavements – Winter conditions can make it tricky to maintain your footing when you head outdoors, but there are some precautions you can take. For starters, select footwear that provides stability and traction. Before going out, be sure to bundle up, warm muscles are more relaxed, which can make it easier to keep your balance. Exercise caution on snowy stairs or sloped ground. Stay on cleared sidewalks and paths if possible. If you need more stability, consider a cane, walker, or even trekking poles to help keep you steady on your feet.
If joint pain is getting you down and in the way of your enjoyment of life – here’s a free tips report to help you ease pain naturally, go here to download it: www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain