Winter check-list for people with arthritis

December 22, 2020

arthritisAs we embark on the winter season, many people with arthritis dread the cold weather and the increased pain that often comes with it. For those who have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, this pain can limit the ability to enjoy normal, daily activities requiring movement. 

Overall, the best way to combat this increase in arthritic pain is to stay active. While your joints might be achy and have a bit of increased pain with activity initially, if you stick with it, you will be happy you did. 

How to reduce arthritis pain

Staying active and taking care of your body can definitely be more difficult when the weather is cold, but there’s a lot you can still do, inside and out, by approaching it properly.

Keep head, hands, and feet covered. Since internal body heat is lost most quickly through the head, hands, and feet, covering these body parts can help maintain internal warmth. Going to all this trouble to bundle up just to get the mail may seem silly, so once you’re suited up and outside, stay out a little longer. Waiting until the afternoon may be a good plan since it’s often the warmest part of a winter day.

Find activities to do indoors. Exercise eases arthritis pain, and staying active during cold weather can help prevent joints from becoming stiff. There are many physical activities that can be done indoors, such as:

  • Ride a stationary bike or elliptical
  • Walk up and down the stairs
  • Use everyday household items for strength exercises
  • Walk on a treadmill
  • Stretch
  • Do a yoga or low impact aerobics DVD or online class
  • Walk laps around the house
  • Play active games with children or grandchildren

Always eat healthy. This will always be important regardless of the time of year. Eating a balanced diet can help you keep off the extra pounds that can add more stress to your joints. Consider adding foods to fight inflammation that causes joint pain, such as omega-3-rich fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), soybeans, green tea, and walnuts.

Drink plenty of fluids. This is another thing that is always important. You may not feel like you need to drink as much in the winter, but staying hydrated will help flush toxins out of your body and keep your joints lubricated. This will help reduce joint pain and inflammation. It can also help you to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

Vitamin D supplements. Low levels of vitamin D might play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain, according to Pain Management journal. You’re less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about the possible need for supplements or increased vitamin D-fortified foods. 

Topical and over-the-counter medications. The above advice should really help with arthritis pain, but sometimes you may need a little more help. Topical medications often come in cream or gel form and can be rubbed on the skin over joints to relieve pain. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium, can help relieve arthritis pain as well. Talk with your doctor at Southside Pain Specialists to find out which, if any, of these medications may be right for you.

The most important thing to remember is that cold weather should not keep you from being active and continuing to focus on a healthy lifestyle. If you need help making a plan related to exercise or diet that’s right for you, contact us to talk with your doctor today. 

Start your journey toward pain relief at Southside Pain Specialists

With highly specialized training and a multitude of pain relief options, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.