How to Manage Winter Arthritis Pain

How to Manage Winter Arthritis Pain

There’s a lot to look forward to when winter rolls around—hot cocoa by the fire, putting up holiday decorations, reuniting with family…it’s truly a magical time of year. If you’re one of the 50 million people in the US with arthritis, though, the colder weather can take a toll on your joints and keep you from the activities you love because of arthritis pain.

Here’s the good news: Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, there’s lots you can do to manage arthritis pain so you can get right back to building a snowman with the grandkids. One of the best strategies for managing arthritis in the winter is getting personalized treatment from innovative physical therapy providers like Ageility Rehab and Fitness. Just a few lifestyle changes at home, though, can also make a big impact. Here are seven easy and effective remedies that can help soothe arthritis pain and make your winter more active and comfortable.

7 Ways to Reduce Winter Arthritis Pain

  1. Bundle up: Cold is a common trigger for aching and swelling joints, so keeping yourself warm by layering up on clothes—particularly pain centers like your hands, knees and legs—is key to raising your body temperature and reducing joint pain.
  2. Check your vitamin D: During the winter months, many older adults stay inside. A lack of exposure to sunlight increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. When you are deficient in vitamin D, it can lead to joint pain and aching muscles. Talk with your primary care physician about the need for a vitamin D screening.
  3. Stay active: When it’s cold outside and you are experiencing arthritis pain, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. But one of the best ways to keep joints working is to use them. Consider exercises like tai chi, yoga and swimming, especially if you have access to a heated therapy pool. You’ll benefit from both the heat and the no-impact exercise.
  4. Eat smart: Your diet can play a role in managing arthritis symptoms too. Some foods can increase swelling, which can raise pain levels, while other foods can fight inflammation. Cherries, berries, grapes, cabbage, kale, spinach, and plums, combined with omega-3 rich foods like fish and nuts, can help decrease joint swelling. Also, try to avoid processed foods, sugary treats, and fast foods.
  5. Get more Vitamin C: There is growing research to indicate that foods high in vitamin C may be linked to an increase in new collagen production. Collagen is a critical component of cartilage, which is often damaged as arthritis worsens. Bell pepper, citrus fruits, cauliflower, cherries, and strawberries may be good additions to your diet.
  6. Try heated paraffin dips: Try giving your hands and feet a dip in heated paraffin wax. Salons and spas usually offer this service. If you prefer to do it at home, kits are less than $30. You could also try heated lavender slippers and gloves. These can be warmed up in the microwave and used repeatedly.
  7. Drink green tea: The benefits of green tea are numerous—one of which is blocking chemicals in the body that are believed to cause inflammation. Green tea may also prevent cartilage from further damage due to arthritis.

Treating Arthritis: Why Physical Therapy is Key

Following these seven tips may be able to help relieve arthritis symptoms, but if joint pain persists or gets worse, it’s time to start looking for a more tailored treatment plan. Physical therapy addresses your specific aches and pains so you can get back to tossing snowballs at the grandkids without flare-ups slowing you down. Ageility’s team of licensed physical therapists are trained in arthritis pain management and work with you to develop a treatment plan that relieves pain and swelling and restores muscle balance around the affected joints, without the need for medication.

Reduce Arthritis Pain and Reach Your Goals with Ageility

Whether you want to shovel snow ache-free, or wrap presents without sore and swelling joints, working with a physical therapist and making a few changes to your lifestyle can help make winter less painful, and more joyful. To learn more about Ageility’s physical therapy services, contact Ageility at [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.