6 Simple Lifestyle Hacks for Joint Pain Relief in Winter
No, it’s not just in your head...joint pain really is apparently worse during colder weather. While the consensual reason for this has not yet been found, scientists have several theories. One theory is that because the body conserves heat during colder weather and it sends more blood to the organs in the center of the body (shunting), such as the heart and lungs. It leaves less blood in distal areas such as the arms, legs, shoulders, and knees. This may cause the blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction), which can cause stiffness, discomfort, pain and/or numbness and temporary loss of finer motor skills.
Another common theory is that colder weather causes changes in the barometric pressure of the environment and therefore the endometric pressure in the body. This may cause an inflammatory response in various joints and soft tissues. This response may also increase joint pain. However, there is currently a lack of consensual evidence to prove whether either of these theories are particularly responsible for why joints hurt more during colder weather.
Regardless of the cause, joint pain can be incredibly uncomfortable and debilitating. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to ease your joint pain this winter. Compiled below are six tips to relieve joint pain in cold weather.
1. Dress warmly.
One of the most helpful things you can do to relieve your joint pain this winter is to dress warmly in cold weather. This means wearing gloves, scarves, long sleeves and pants, warm coats, hats, etc... anytime you go outside. By protecting your body from the cold weather with extra clothing, your joints are less likely to become inflamed as easily.
2. Layer your clothes.
Along with dressing warmly comes layering. This can be helpful for when you are switching between indoor and outdoor environments, such as while going to work or school. Adding extra layers will help to protect your joints from the elements and can decrease their inflammation response. Plus, if you warm up while indoors, you can remove a few layers and be comfortable once more.
3. Keep hydrated.
One study published in the September, 2015 issue of Experimental Physiology found that dehydration can also exacerbate joint pain. This is due to the fact that even mild dehydration can increase sensitivity to pain. While it’s common to not drink nearly as much water when the weather is colder, it’s apparently important to keep hydrating for the sake of your joints.
4. Stay active.
Even though we often have a tendency to want to curl up under a blanket when the weather is colder, staying active is extremely important for reducing joint pain and overall joint health. Exercise helps to keep joints lubricated by naturally increasing synovial fluids. By remaining sedentary, you can significantly worsen your condition. However, if you notice your joint pain is worsened by strenuous activity, try reducing the intensity and/or duration of your workout by 50 percent and experience how you feel during and afterwards.
5. Consider alternative therapies.
While chemical pain relievers are effective in the short-term, they can pose health risks if used continuously or in the long-term. There are several alternative and complementary therapies that have shown great promise in reducing joint pain. For example, research published in the June 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed getting an hour-long massage once a week for at least eight weeks can significantly reduce pain.
In addition, the August 2015 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a report that acupuncture may be another effective treatment of joint pain. It generally promotes feelings of relaxation and calmness in the body, which can help counteract the discomfort of joint pain.
6. Incorporate a supplement into your daily routine.
There are several supplements that can greatly benefit individuals who suffer from joint pain during colder weather.
Quality Fish oil: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation recommends 2.6 grams of high-quality fish oil each day. However, these supplements might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding, so make sure to let your doctor know before you add them into your diet.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin: Both glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to increase lubrication in the joints as well as nourish cartilage. One study conducted by the National Institute of Health found that daily supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin helped ease symptoms in individuals with moderate-to -severe joint pain.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been shown to play a role in mediating joint pain and increasing bone strength. In fact, a deficiency in vitamin D has been shown to significantly raise the risk of future osteoporosis. In addition, low levels of vitamin D may affect how sensitive you are to pain; particularly joint pain.
CBD: Another popular supplement for individuals suffering from joint pain is CBD. CBD has numerous analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can be extremely beneficial for people suffering from joint pain in cold weather. Consider adding a product like SOL✿CBD’s Herbal Balm to your treatment regimen. This balm is applied topically and has been known to moderate localized relief from joint pain and inflammation.
While joint pain in cold weather can be extremely painful and uncomfortable, there are several proactive measures you can take to lessen your symptoms.
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