The winter is pretty much here! While many people are enjoying the thrills and adventure of the holiday season, many others are coping with various types of body aches and pains.
When a considerable drop in temperature takes place during winters, it’s common to hear people with joint pain or osteoarthritis say the pain is worse. This can be particularly noticed in rheumatoid patients and elderly patients with advanced degenerative changes in their joints.
As a matter of fact, a change in the weather doesn’t directly aggravate arthritis or joint pain. It makes the symptoms more apparent though. When the human body is cold, it restricts the amount of blood it usually sends around peripheries, like hands and feet, so that it can focus on vital organs, like heart and lungs. This makes the soft tissues around the joints less flexible, so joints can feel tight, stiff and uncomfortable. Furthermore, the low barometric pressure in winters has a physical impact on the joints, which encourages inflammation making joint movement more painful.
If you are noticing the similar symptoms in your body this season of the year, it’s time to best cope up with this hit.
Here are some easy and effective steps that will help you ease severe aches and pains:
Get more exercise
Exercise is very vital for people with back pain and arthritis. A regular physical activity increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. When stiff and painful joints are already bothering you, the very thought of incorporating a workout regimen might seem overwhelming. The fact, however, is the lack of exercise can actually make your joints even more painful and stiff. That is because to maintain the support for your joint bones, your muscles and surrounding tissue have to be strong. So not exercising can further weaken this support mechanism.
Also, your joints are surrounded by a soft tissue called the “synovial” membrane, which produces a fluid that allows your joint bones to move past one another smoothly. A regular exercise increases blood circulation throughout your body – including your joints. As a result, the synovial membrane is exposed to a steady supply of nourishing oxygen and nutrients.
Take sunbaths to soak in Vitamin D
For a valid reason, vitamin D can also be called the sunshine vitamin because it has a nutrient that is vital for bone health. Vitamin D is associated to both physical and mental health. The physical symptoms of deficiency is reflected in the joint pain, for example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain, which often occurs in the knees, legs, and hips. Vitamin D regulates your body’s use of calcium and phosphorus. If you don’t take enough vitamin D in your body, your bones will get soften and become weak. This is condition is called osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. A good exposure to sun can be highly effective for you to intake the proper amount of vitamin D in your body. It is synthesised in the skin as a result of UVB exposure from sunlight.
Try hot and cold therapy
One of the least expensive and most effective ways of treating your arthritis or joint pains is to incorporate heat and ice therapy. Heat enhances circulation, delivering nutrients to joints and muscles. It’s good for getting your body ready for exercise. Cold, on the other hand, is best for acute pain; it restricts blood vessels, slowing circulation and reducing swelling.
Heat therapy is of two types – dry heat and moist heat. The dry heat uses methods like heating pads, dry heating packs, and even saunas. Moist heat uses resources like steamed towels, moist heating packs, or hot baths. The cold treatment includes ice packs, frozen gel packs, coolant sprays, ice massage, and ice baths.
Use topical medication to cope with pain
The winter chills aggravates the swelling of joints that are suffering from arthritis, which significantly limits your ability to move. If you have tried exercise and over-the-counter (OTC) pain killers, you can try another good option called topical medication. These arthritis creams help reduce joint pain when applied to the skin by providing short-term but effective relief. The main pain-relieving ingredients in these topical creams are: salicylates, counterirritants, and capsaicin. However, different products use different ingredients for pain relief.
There are many topical arthritis creams available on the market. For example, Bengay arthritis cream reduces inflammation and relieves muscle and bone pain. It contains salicylates, camphor, and menthol. CBDmedic is a pain relief therapy without pills and combines the advanced science with the finest organic and natural ingredients. The CBDMEDIC ointment has menthol and camphor as active ingredients, which temporarily relieve minor aches and pain of muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, strains, bruises and sprains. Another topical cream is Myoflex salicylate cream, which absorbs into your skin quickly without a typical lotion-like feel.
Although the effectiveness of these creams has been well-substantiated, but it is always recommended that you should visit your doctor or medical practitioner.
Get a massage
Massage seams to ease aches and pains in several ways. It increases blood flow to sore, stiff joints and muscles, which are warmed by the extra circulation. According to the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®), massage therapy is increasingly getting public and medical acceptance. There is more consumer usage of massage therapy in the US today.
Therapeutic massage is an active area of research. Researchers are studying its effects on pain in the back, hands, neck, and knees, among other areas. Studies have found that massage also triggers the release of natural painkillers called opioids in the brain. Thus you can with a physical therapist to learn self-massage, or schedule appointments with a massage therapist regularly. The different techniques of massage are: Reiki, Craniosacral therapy, Deep tissue massage, Rolfing and myofascial release, etc.
There’s no doubt that winter season intensifies your arthritis or joint pain, so it can add even an extra burden on top of the miserable weather. The above mentioned steps will help you fight the severe pain and you can enjoy the holiday season.