My name is Mr. Joint and I help you perform daily activities like walking, jumping in joy, climbing the stairs, clapping your hands, turning around to wave at your friend or running to the washroom. I allow the movement of various parts of your body, to a predetermined extent in each direction. In brief, I am important for you to stay active.
But, when winter arrives, it brings along our nightmare the Pain, in people who already some joint problems, especially in older adults. When I ache, I wont be able to aid you to do all the movements, the pain can become unbearable in people who have joint-related diseases, such as arthritis. Several articles have also featured me, suggesting that my pain is provoked by cold weather in about 42% of people.
Now, that you know do take special care of me and keep me at bay during this winter season. Incorporate the following tips in your daily routine and ease our pain.
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- Sweat it out: Curling up in your warm blanket seems comforting in winter mornings. But, this might lead to stiffness and aggravate my pain. Staying physically active warms your body and keeps you energetic throughout the day. Jogging or walking is a good exercise, but if its too cold outside, switch to indoor exercises like Pilates or yoga. If you are a beginner, go slow, do not strain your body. Only warm-up and light stretching exercises are advised for the elderly.
- Layer-up to stay warm: Cover yourself from head-to-toe with socks, gloves, sweatshirts, sweatpants, caps, and scarfs. In extremely cold conditions, add extra layers around some of my parts, like the knee, hands, neck, etc. You can also remove the extra layers as the day gets hotter.
- Heat is the key: Applying a heating pad to my pain can help relieve it. Keep your room warm by using a heater or a thermostat. Also, warm up your car when travelling. If the mercury drops tremendously, use electric blankets to stay warm.
- Take supplements: During winters, most of you prefer being indoors where you wont get exposed to sunlight enough. This might result in the decrease of vitamin D levels, in-turn causing pain. So, take vitamin D as well as calcium supplements to keep your bones strong and pain-free.
- Eat fatty fish: Fishes like mackerel, sardines, and salmons are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce my inflammation and ease the pain. Oily fish is a natural source of vitamin D3, which will help to maintain good bone health.
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- Choose your footwear wisely: According to research, people are more prone to falling and osteoarthritis when they wear fancy heels during winter. So, opt for supportive flats, rubber-soled boots or shoes over high heels.
- Get a massage: The muscle around me generally hurt when Im in pain. So, treat yourself with a massage and relax. You can use warm oil, foam roller or other methods to relieve my pain.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration decreases flexibility and increases the risk of injuries. So, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
Fall in temperature, rise in my pain. Why?The exact scientific reason why cold causes my pain is unclear; there are several theories proposed to provide an explanation. Some studies indicated that barometric pressure plays a key role. Barometric pressure is the amount of force applied on any surface due to the weight of air. In winter, this pressure falls and triggers my pain or makes me stiff.
Other studies suggest many factors to cause this pain, including humidity, precipitation, and other weather-related factors. However, no study elucidated precisely why weather provokes pain and stiffness.
Follow the recommended guidelines to enjoy the winter season, without me being a hindrance. Also, include these tips in your daily routine to protect yourself from various complications.
If you have joint pains despite following these tips, it is better to seek medical help. CallHealth can help you in arranging a consultation with the orthopaedics or the bone specialist so that you get the best care for your joints. For joint health, CallHealth!
CallHealth Wellness Team
Dr. Ganesh Reddiah Chunduri, MBBS, FRCS (Glasgow)Consultant Orthopedician, CallHealth
Have a question?Consult Dr. Ganesh online.