Preventing Winter Joint Pain

Winter weather: you either love it or you hate it. But if you’re prone to sore joints, chances are you fall into the latter category. Many people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis complain that their joint pain worsens in the winter months. Daily activities like climbing stairs or getting out of bed can become excruciating, and you may find yourself limiting physical activity to avoid the pain.

Doctors don’t know why arthritis patients seem to suffer more in the winter months, and research thus far has been unable to explain this phenomenon. However, some doctors suspect that the change in barometric pressure could be to blame. As air pressure falls, tissues expand and place additional pressure on the joints, which may lead aches and pains (Source: WebMD).

While you certainly cannot control the pressure in the atmosphere, you can take some preventive measures to keep achy joints under control during the winter months. Here are a few suggestions:

Stay warm

Cold joints can become stiff, making it even more painful when you have to move them. Wear warm layers of clothing, build a fire or bump up the thermostat. You can also use a heating pad to target joints that are particularly bothersome.

Exercise regularly

When you have achy joints, you’ll probably feel like hibernating until the weather warms up again, but becoming sedentary can actually make joint pain worse. Daily exercise can prevent joint stiffness and ward off winter weight gain. It will also strengthen the muscles in your joints, lowering your chances of suffering an injury.

Take supplements

Vitamin D, fish oil and glucosamine supplements can help relieve joint pain and inflammation in arthritis sufferers. As with any supplement, it is always wise to talk to your doctor before starting a new regimen.

Get a massage

Massages can ease sore muscles, improve flexibility, and stimulate blood flow to achy joints – not to mention they feel great! Take advantage of this opportunity to spoil yourself a little and book a relaxing massage.

Take medication if necessary

Lifestyle changes can significantly reduce joint pain, but they can’t always eliminate it. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and Motrin may be necessary to keep your winter joint pain under control. Talk to your doctor about what pain control options may be right for you (Source: Everyday Health).