Did you know that some people with arthritis believe they can predict the weather? This may sound far-fetched, but in fact, researchers from Tufts University in Boston conducted a study in 2007 and found a direct association between arthritis and changes in barometric pressure and temperature (source). In addition, they found that low temperatures and low barometric pressure can increase arthritis pain. Now that we’re in the middle of winter, you might be wondering how you can avoid this discomfort. Check out our tips below to learn how to ease arthritis pain in winter.
How to Ease Arthritis Pain in Winter
Dress for the weather.
The colder it gets, the more your joints will ache. As the temperature drops, dress more appropriately for the weather. Wear layers, and don’t forget to put on your gloves and a scarf. Wear thermal underwear to keep your elbows and knees warm as the cold wind can cut through jeans. As you warm up, you can peel off layers and put them back on as necessary.
Spend time in a warm bath.
If your joints ache, try soaking in a warm bath. The heated water can alleviate joint pain and relieve inflammation, giving you improved mobility and flexion. If you’ve just come inside and have the shivers, wait until you’ve reached room temperature before jumping into the bathtub. Otherwise, the warm water could cause more discomfort in your frozen joints.
Arthritis pain makes it difficult to move freely, so many people forgo exercise and opt for a sedentary lifestyle to combat the pain. However, a report from the American College of Rheumatology revealed a direct correlation between sedentary behavior and osteoarthritis (source). Adults with osteoarthritis who spent more than half of their day being sedentary had significantly less walking speed compared to adults who moved around a bit more.
So even if it’s cold outside, you can improve your arthritis by exercising indoors. Invest in a treadmill, cycle on an exercise bike, or go to the mall with a friend and walk laps. You could also join a gym with a heated pool, which would be perfect for both pain relief and exercise.
Take the right supplements.
If you’re not getting enough natural sunlight in the winter, it could have a negative effect on your overall health. You get most of your vitamin D from the sun, so if you’re not spending time outdoors, your vitamin levels will drop. A lack of vitamin D may also make you more sensitive to arthritis pain. Try supplementing with vitamin D3 to bring your levels back up and to reduce your ailments.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements could also help relieve your arthritis pain, not only in the winter but throughout the year. Although studies have yet to show conclusive evidence, some patients have experienced reduced arthritis symptoms after taking glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.
Enjoy a healing massage.
Numerous studies reveal the benefits of massage for arthritis. In most cases, a 15-minute massage with moderate pressure is all it takes to relieve pain, increase grip, and improve range of motion. Studies have also proven that a massage reduces a person’s level of cortisol (a natural stress hormone) while boosting mood and decreasing inflammation.
By learning how to ease arthritis pain in winter, you can live a more comfortable life during the cold months to come. Dress warmly, partake in exercise, consume supplements, and indulge in a massage to ease your arthritis pain and enjoy a more relaxing winter.
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