Winter weather brings freezing temperatures, increased precipitation, and plummeting barometric pressure and precipitation, all of which can significantly affect joint pain. Spring will arrive in due course, but here are some ways to reduce joint pain in the cold months.
Watch your weight
Weight gain puts added stress on already painful joints, especially your knees. Every added pound of weight is multiplied when it comes to the cumulative load your knees have to bear, and losing just five or ten pounds can have a significant positive effect.
Inactivity leads to more joint pain due to stiffness and swelling, and can limit your range of motion. Find ways to exercise that are easy on your knees, like water aerobics in a heated pool, or leisurely mall walking. Stretch out sore muscles and loosen joints with tai chi or yoga. An exercise bike at a slow, steady pace can also provide joint flexion without strain.
Cold can make knee pain worse, so consider a heated blanket or hot rice filled pad when you are sitting or lying down, and extra layers when you are up and moving. Thermal underwear, a pair of warm tights under your pants, thigh high socks, or leg warmers pulled up over your knees are all proactive warming techniques. Staying warm can keep your knees from stiffening up and hurting due to the cold.
A sensible diet can help prevent weight gain, positively impact your joint health, and promote overall health. Anti-inflammatory food choices with omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and nuts, can help reduce chances of swelling and pain. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach provide vitamin K for bone health, and vitamin C rich foods like oranges, red peppers and tomatoes help slow the advancement of cartilage loss.
If your knee pain is chronic and keeps you from sleeping at night, it;s time to talk to a specialist. Dr. Scott at Strasburger Orthopaedics has several alternative therapies available for pain management, including PRP injections and iovera°. Both of these options can provide significant relief when used for knee pain. Contact our office for a consultation today.