Wednesday, June 22, 2016

5 Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain in the Winter

The winter weather is already tough, but when paired with chronic arthritis pain, it can be unbearable. Joints have a tendency to become increasingly sore during cold or wet weather. In fact, researchers at Tufts University in the US found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with an increase in arthritis pain. Therefore, managing joint pain in the winter months is a top priority. However, it is not always so easy to achieve. Read on to see our top five tips for arthritis pain in the winter!

  1.  Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation  occurs when parts of your body become red in appearance,, swollen, and painful. For arthritis sufferers, this inflammation is located in the joints. Anti-inflammatory foods  assist by minimizing the severity of inflammation. Tomatoes, olive oil, spinach, kale, collards, salmon and fruit  are foods classified  as anti-inflammatories.  Phytochemicals, which are natural chemicals found in many anti-inflammatory foods, are also believed to help reduce inflammation. . In order to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats, eat a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and cut down on  refined and processed foods. With an improved diet  alone, you can make  a tremendous impact on the way your joints feel in the winter.
  2. Hydrate. While it seems simple, hydration can be a major key to staying pain-free during the winter months. Dehydration has been shown to increase inflammation and cause lower back pain, further exacerbating the pain that many arthritis sufferers feel. Often people can  mistake symptoms of dehydration for regular joint pain, but treating it with pain-killers or other temporary solutions may eventually result in osteoarthritis. Keep a water bottle with you in winter to stay hydrated at all times.
  3.  Wear a support or brace. If diet and hydration aren’t cutting it for you, wearing a support or hinged brace  can assist in helping to improve your healing and minimise pain. Compression sleeves like the Thermoskin Knee Support provides compression and heat to aid in alleviating swelling. These types of braces also offer additional support during physical activity.
  4.  Warm water soaks. This is another simple but effective answer to joint pain, in addition to being a relaxing experience in general. Many physicians recommend soaking in warm water. Hotter water can put stress on the heart. Adding in Epsom salt can add magnesium, which is a crucial mineral for bone health. Additionally, stretching while in warm water can relieve joint pain and increase flexibility, and it’s much easier to do while soaking than while out of the tub.
  5. Exercises. While working out painful joints may not seem like the answer to arthritis pain, getting moving has been shown to be effective in releasing pain. However, it’s important to not overdo it – this can put unnecessary stress on the joints. However, modified yoga exercises and light cardio can increase the circulation of blood throughout your body, minimizing arthritis pain.

Winter can be a tough time for arthritis sufferers, however  keeping these simple tips in mind can produce a drastic positive difference to reduce your pain levels!

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