Winter presents many additional challenges for those living with joint pain. You may find your symptoms worsening as the temperature and barometric pressure drop, and feel less inclined to leave the house when snow or ice is on the ground. While the winter can be tough, there are steps you can take to combat aches and pains and enjoy the season to its fullest.
Eating a balanced diet is important all year round, but winter is the time to give it a boost. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, so consider introducing more oily fish, spinach, or walnuts into your diet. Green tea is also believed to reduce inflammation, amongst a myriad of other health benefits—drink it warm in the winter for a soothing lift. Another warming, inflammation-fighting option is the spice turmeric, the main ingredient in yellow curry, which can help ease pain and swelling in the joints.
Making improvements to your diet is a good way to shed any extra weight that might have snuck up on you over the holiday period. Shedding even a few excess pounds can relieve the pressure on your knees and slow the progression of arthritis, so ask your doctor if your current weight is healthy for you.
Exercise is as important as dietary adjustments when trying to lose weight, and is good for the joints. Unfortunately, most people grow more sedentary when it is cold outside, which can cause joint pain to worsen. If you find your joints growing sore and stiff during the winter months, resist the temptation to stay in bed, and get active. Low impact exercise like walking or swimming in a heated pool can reduce stiffness in the joints and increase blood flow around the body. If you don’t want to leave the house, any activities which get you up and moving around are good too—even household chores like vacuuming.
In addition to lifestyle changes, a number of over-the-counter medicines and remedies are available to combat your pain. Creams like Capzasin, Bengay, and the odorless Aspercreme can provide short-term relief from joint pain, particularly in joints that are close to the surface, such as the knuckles. Painkillers like ibuprofen can also be effective in relieving pain, but be sure to check with your doctor first, especially if you are taking a prescribed blood thinner.
For long-term relief from joint pain, there’s a better way. At Spine & Joint Center, we offer a number of treatments that can provide effective, lasting joint pain relief. Contact us today to find out more.