Winter is anything but a chilly wonderland for arthritis sufferers. It is very difficult to control arthritis pain in winter. Joints expand due to a sudden drop in barometric pressure due to a change in ambient temperature. These conditions exacerbate the pain caused by various arthritis conditions.
“Yes, people with arthritis are more affected by these cold waves. As the temperature drops, the capillaries constrict, leading to stiffness, joint swelling, and fatigue. Additionally, their joints are prone to accumulation of pro-inflammatory chemicals.” respond to, which complicates the situation.”Dr. Rahul Grover, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Founder and Director, Glyra Orthopaedics, New Delhi said
Why arthritis increases in winter
Following are some of the reasons for arthritis flare-up in winters:
- Wintertime increases the sensitivity of pain receptors.
- The drop in air pressure causes joint pain. When the pressure is reduced, the tissues swell, causing tension to accumulate between the joints and discomfort.
- Colder temperatures cause more muscle spasms, which increase joint pain and stiffness.
- Cold reduces blood flow to the hands and feet, which increases the problem of arthritis.
- Vitamin D levels drop throughout the winter months due to less exposure to sunlight, which also weakens bones and joints.
Simple ways to avoid arthritis in winter
Below are some useful tips that you can use to reduce the pain you feel in winters, explains Dr. Rahul Grover:
Staying warm is the key to joint pain relief
It is clear that staying indoors in an environment with proper temperature control is the best way to prevent a cold. However, wearing warm clothing made from quick-drying fabrics like wool is one of the biggest strategies for preventing cold weather aches and pains if you have to go outside. If you have arthritis in your hips or knees, wearing long underwear can also help keep your lower limbs warm. Keep your feet and hands warm too! A good pair of extra warm socks and insulated gloves can be helpful. You can also spend some time in a warm bath if you come home with aching joints from the cold.
Stay active and preferably indoors to prevent arthritis
One of the best things you can do to prevent arthritis flare-ups is exercise. Plus, it’s a great way to improve your overall health. Regular exercise helps increase muscle strength, flexibility and energy levels, all of which can help reduce joint discomfort. Low-impact exercises will put the least amount of stress on your joints. Excellent options include:
- elliptical trainer or indoor cycling machine
- strength training
- walk or run on a treadmill or padded indoor track
If you have never exercised before, Dr. Rahul Grover recommends that you should start slowly. Start by exercising for about 2 to 10 minutes twice daily. Take good rest in between workouts. You can make your workouts longer and faster as you become accustomed to your new activities.
Wear compression gear to reduce the discomfort of arthritis
For years, compression garments such as arm sleeves, gloves and socks have helped reduce joint pain. These things help promote circulation, which has been proven to ease the discomfort of arthritis. Compression clothing can trap heat, acting as an extra layer to keep your arms and legs warm during the harsh winter months.
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D may reduce arthritis pain
Strong bones are promoted by the increased efficiency of calcium absorption due to vitamin D. As a result, low vitamin D levels can make people more vulnerable to flare-ups of arthritis. Generally, our foods provide our body with sufficient amount of Vitamin D. The UV light we get from sunlight helps our bodies make vitamin D. Cold weather can cause overcast skies and a desire to stay indoors.
According to Dr. Rahul Grover “Adults should consume 20 to 50 ng/mL of vitamin D daily. Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are rich in vitamin D, such as salmon or mackerel. Milk and Market such as cereals fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
To increase your intake, you can also take fish oil and vitamin D pills. In fact, one tablespoon of cod liver oil can meet your daily needs for vitamin D.
Keep a healthy weight to reduce arthritis pain
You’ll probably experience more pain the more strain you put on your joints. Your healthy weight maintenance will result in your joints experiencing less pain because it puts less strain on them.
According to studies, brown adipose tissue, which secretes pro-inflammatory chemicals that can damage joints, is more common in individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI). Additionally, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation. Additionally, obesity is associated with an increase in cases of arthritis of the knee. The best strategies for maintaining a healthy weight are through a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle.