9 Arthritis Pain Relief Tips for Winter Weather
Dec 11, 2018 • 11 comments
Many individuals with arthritis suffer from aching joints, but often the aching joints worsen during the winter.
Despite whether the joint pain - weather connection theory has a basis in science, you can still use these arthritis pain-relieving tips during the winter and cold months when your joints are aching and acting up!
1. Dress Warm
If it’s cold outside, keeping the distal extremities warm, especially the hands and feet, can help! Cover the hands with warm, wind resistant, gloves; add an extra layer of socks (or use thermal socks) for the feet; and wear some extra layers over the legs. Adding extra layers is ideal because you can always take them off as needed - better to be warm than cold!
Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain, according to study results published in the September 2015 issue of Experimental Physiology.
3. Exercise Inside
While it's understandable to want to avoid the winter chill, people with joint pain should still stay active. The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function, according to a study of people with knee arthritis published in Arthritis Care & Research in March 2015. Come up with an indoor exercise plan, whether it be walking, using a treadmill, elliptical, etc.
4. Let Warm Water Comfort You
Swimming in a heated-warm pool is both great for exercise and for soothing the joints. You can also get relief from warm baths and showers, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Just don’t go right out into the cold after your soak in warm water... Let your body temperature normalize a bit first before you venture out in the cold!
5. Supplement with Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D might play a role in how sensitive you are to arthritis pain, according to research in the September 2015 issue of Pain Management. Being deficient in vitamin D also raises the risk for osteoporosis. You're less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, so talk to your doctor about your need for supplements or vitamin D-fortified foods.
6. Stay Safe
Particularly when it is snowing, raining, hailing, and/or the sidewalks and streets become icy, people with arthritis need to protect their joints from further damage. If you’re going outside, pick solid, supportive shoes with good treads and try to walk on a surface that doesn’t look slick.
7. Add Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids do have some benefit because they seem to reduce the level of inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends up to 2.6 grams of fish oil capsules twice a day. Make sure to let your doctor know if you try omega-3s, as they can increase the risk for bruising or bleeding.
8. Get a Massage
Yes, you have permission to indulge yourself and get a massage. Getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks was shown to reduce pain, according to research in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
9. Go Under the Needle with Acupuncture
Acupuncture is another option for those willing to consider non-traditional treatments. You also might find the process relaxing and feel generally healthier, according to research in the August 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
How are you coping with your Rheumatoid Arthritis during winter?
- Do you have any tips you would like to share?
- Have you tried any of these tips?
Do you think cold weather affects your joint pain?
- How cold does it get where you live?
- How does the winter affect your everyday life?