Have you ever heard friends or loved ones say they can feel rain or snow coming on? As it turns out, cold and damp weather can in fact affect those living with arthritis. This can be due to a change in barometric pressure. And, less blood flow makes impacted areas cold which can cause pain in the joints. According to a recent study done at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, nearly 68% of people surveyed said that changes in the weather impacted their pain. So, what should you do as fall’s foliage turns into winter’s icy aches and pains?
First, start with smaller changes such as your clothing. By dressing warmly (including hats, gloves and scarves) and using layers that you can remove once you’re indoors, you’re less likely to suffer from stiffness that aggravates your osteoarthritis (OA). You can also make a significant impact by staying hydrated, which has been shown to have positive influence on pain.
Second, as part of a healthy lifestyle, shift your summer exercise routine indoors. People with OA or joint pain should stay active – and that means just 20 minutes a day of walking can be done at a gym, YMCA or even a mall. Come up with a plan to meet your lifestyle and consider alternatives to your normal routine that are minimal impact like an elliptical or swimming. Even conducting household chores or dancing with your partner can help keep the body from increased pain. Low levels of Vitamin D can raise the risk of OA according to Pain Management. Knowing you’ll be short on Vitamin D with less sun in your day to day life, consider taking a supplement. Fish oil is also a great winter addition as it helps reduce any inflammation you’re experiencing.
Lastly, think outside the box. Anything to stimulate your body beyond exercise can be considered during the colder months. Get a massage, think about acupuncture, and remember that the underlying cause of pain and osteoarthritis can now be treated with innovative regenerative offerings like those employed at our clinic in Portsmouth.