Unfortunately, cold weather can worsen the aches and pains caused by arthritis. Low temperatures have been found to heighten pain sensitivity, slow blood circulation, and even cause muscle spasms. Lower temperatures tend to thicken the synovial fluid, which is what lubricates joints. This thickening can then lead to joint stiffening. In addition, joints sometimes detect and respond to changes in barometric pressure. Barometric changes can cause the contraction of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage within the joint, often increasing pain. So what can arthritis sufferers do to find relief in cold weather?
Here are 7 tips to help with arthritis pain when it’s cold:
- Eat Well - simple diet changes can reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. Specifically, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been found to ease arthritis symptoms. Low levels of Vitamin D can also increase pain sensitivity.
- Stay Warm - the best antidote to joint pain during winter is to stay as warm as possible. When headed outside, layer up with hats, gloves, and scarves.
- Get Moving - regular physical activity boosts energy and keeps joints in motion. Even moderate exercise increases strength and flexibility.
- Stretch Out - stretching can often help loosen stiff joints. When muscles and joints are sufficiently “warmed up,” injuries are less likely to happen.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight - the more weight, the more pressure that is placed on joints. Osteoarthritis is especially painful in the joints that bear the majority of a person's weight, specifically the knees and hips.
- Stay Hydrated - even mild dehydration can make a patient more sensitive to arthritis pain. Staying hydrated can make a big difference in symptom relief.
- Watch Footing - if joints are damaged from arthritis, a patient's sense of balance may also be affected. It is important to be careful and wear proper footwear to prevent slip and falls.
It is important to have an ongoing dialogue with an orthopaedic specialist regarding arthritis pain levels! To learn more about arthritis symptom management, no matter the season, schedule a consultation at Frisch Ortho today!
Dr. Nicholas Frisch is a specialist orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as complex primary and revision surgery. He believes in creating a personalized experience with the highest level of service. For all appointments & inquiries, please contact our offices located in Rochester and River District, MI.