If you’re a joint pain sufferer, you may have noticed that the onset of wintry, cold and wet weather can make joints ache more than usual, adding an extra burden on top of the miserable weather.
Precisely why the winter causes or worsens joint pain is still a bit of a mystery. Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Rod Huges says: “People who suffer from arthritis may experience increased pain and stiffness during colder months. This may be because low barometric pressure has a physical impact on the joints or that it encourages inflammation making joint movement more painful. In addition, during cold weather, the body focuses on circulating blood around the core and major organs and away from muscles and joints. As a result, the joints may seem less flexible.”
If you’re dreading the winter months, why not try these four easy steps to help ease aches and pains and keep you feeling your best this winter, whatever the temperature.
Fit and Well
The Heat is On
Stiff, tense and sore muscles can be relaxed and relieved with a little heat, and joints are no different. Try a heat pack or a warm bath to help soothe stiff joints and relax the muscles around the joints. Use heat application for at least 15 minutes before exercise and then again immediately following exercise – as well as every time you need additional relief for nagging joint pain.
Of course, direct heat isn’t going to help too much if the air around you is cold. When you’re sitting for long periods, in particular, cold air can really get into your bones and joints and make you feel pretty unwell. Whether it’s in the workplace or at home, I’ve always found that keeping the room you’re in cosy and warm, rather than just having the central heating on, can make a real difference. I’ve recently bought a great trade radiator, which I use at home, and it’s even helped me cut down on electricity use.
Supplement your diet
Low mood during the winter months can mean that your pain feels worse, as your perception of pain can change if you’re feeling more depressed. It’s important to carry on doing things throughout the winter months that you know give you a ‘lift’ usually, whether it’s spending plenty of time with friends, treating yourself, or carrying on your favourite hobbies.
Do you suffer from winter joint pain, and how do you manage your symptoms?