Winter for many people means old aches and pains may become more persistent. Cold and changing barometer readings can cause joints to well, pop, and become painful to the touch or when moved. Here are four ways to help avoid or mitigate the discomfort of arthritic joints over the long winter.
- Cold weather can mean people are less likely to work out, and unfortunately that means more joint pain. Getting up and moving can help keep joints from stiffening and swelling, so find safe, low impact exercises you can do at home like yoga or tai chi, which builds muscle and adds flexibility. Alternately, step out to a nearby mall for a few fast-walk laps in the heated environment, or seek out an indoor pool at your local aquatic center and get a good workout in the water for joint pain relief.
- Try a non-inflammatory diet and supplement with foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and nuts. Expand your salad to include a few leaves of kale shredded finely, extra purple cabbage, or fresh young spinach. Start juicing fresh oranges for the full benefits of the citrus fruit and throw some red peppers into whatever meat dish you are making to add flavor and vitamin C. Stay away from overly processed foods, refined grains, and items high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as corn oil.
- Apply moist heat, such as a damp heating pad, or take a long soak in a warm tub of water. You can also look into hot oil massage as a way to loosen muscles that tighten up in response to joint pain. Be careful with heat if you have poor circulation and keep heat sessions between 5 and 20 minutes long to provide best results, with half hour breaks in between. If you don’t have a good heating pad, a small cloth bag filled with rice can be microwaved briefly, then wrapped in a hot damp towel to steam away pain.
- Talk to your doctor. Dr. Strasburger has several options for joint pain, including PRP and iovera°. Both can be a good solution for immediate pain. If your knee joints are compromised, and you are considering knee surgery, talk to Dr. Strasburger to see if the NAVIO robotics-assisted system could be right for you.
Taking steps to proactively address joint pain can help you enjoy winter weather and have a pleasant holiday season.