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6 Ways to Fight Cold Weather Joint Pain

By Brian Acton

Cold weather can be a real drag for people with joint pain and/or arthritis, as cooler temperatures have long been associated with increased pain. Several studies have confirmed this phenomenon, although there is no scientific consensus on why it occurs. One prevailing theory is that a sudden change in barometric pressure can cause tendons, muscles, and bones to expand or contract. Another theory suggests that in colder weather, the areas surrounding joints receive less blood flow. No matter the cause, there are things you can do to fight the effects of cold weather on your joints. Here are six:
  1. Keep Moving
During winter, many people are less likely to get exercise due to cold weather. But regular activity is important to fight off joint pain in the long run. A lack of exercise can weaken the muscles surrounding your joints, resulting in greater pain. It is crucial to keep moving in the winter. If it’s too cold outside, you can always find a way to exercise indoors. The key is not to turn into a couch potato as you wait for spring.
  1. Dress for the Weather
Warm clothing can help to guard your body and joints from cold weather. Gloves, scarves, a warm coat, and long johns can help you stay warm and fight off joint pain. It can also help to put on several layers whenever you venture outside, and simply remove one or two when you get indoors.
  1. Apply Heat
If your joint pain is exacerbated by cold weather, applying heat is a temporary solution. You can apply heat to your joints in many different ways: taking a warm bath, visiting an indoor heated pool, or applying heated hot and cold packs to the affected area.
  1. Get Your Vitamin D
Some studies have shown a correlation between a Vitamin D deficiency and increased pain sensitivity, particularly among those with osteoarthritis in the knee. In winter, you may be getting less exposure to sunlight, the primary natural supplier of Vitamin D. If you aren’t spending much time outside, you can take Vitamin D supplements to get your recommended daily dose.
  1. Guard Against Injury
Winter weather comes with an increased risk of injury. Icy walkways and driveways could cause a fall. Shoveling snow can lead to overexertion, and branches loaded with ice can become an overhead threat. Be vigilant against increased winter risks. Pick shoes with good treads, treat your icy walkways, look out for icy branches, and avoid overworking yourself as you shovel snow.
  1. Get a Massage
Massages can help relieve arthritis pain, especially when the pain is coming from muscles surrounding your joints. Regular massages have been shown to reduce arthritis related pain and stiffness. Treating yourself to a regular massage appointment could be just what you need to get through the winter. Sources: http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/weather-arthritis-pain/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26399462 https://www.self.com/story/why-joints-hurt-more-cold-winter-weather https://www.spine-health.com/blog/relationship-between-chronic-pain-and-inactivity-disuse-syndrome https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
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