It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. Unfortunately, the season is bringing more than just good tidings. For many people, winter brings with it a bevy of pains, aching knees, back pain, and hip pain. Welsh poet George Herbert succinctly put into words the suffering of people with arthritis during the cold months: “Every mile is two in winter.”
When the temperature dips and you feel the nagging ache in your joints, you may want to try these methods to alleviate the pain.
It can be tempting to stay in bed and wallow in the pain and discomfort that you’re feeling. Staying motionless won’t help, but it may even worsen your aches.
Exercising and moving around may be uncomfortable in the beginning, but once you get used to it, you’ll feel less pain in your joints. That’s because exercise encourages the production of synovial fluid, which is basically a lubricant for your joints.
It also helps that exercise increases the production of feel-good hormones, like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, and reduces that of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Since the cold is one of the primary causes of your pain, you should avoid going outside often and exercise indoors instead. Also, limit your workouts to low-impact activities to lessen the stress on your joints.
Whether you’re running to the grocery store or going to work, always dress warmly. Inside, you have your heater to keep you warm indoors, but outside, you only have the clothes on your back for protection. Layer up and wear your gloves, boots, scarf, and bonnet. It’s crucial to keep yourself warm at all times if you want to manage your joint pain.
Your winter attire should have three layers:
- Base layer. Wear fabrics that provide warmth and moisture control like merino wool.
- Mid layer. Go for lightweight, breathable clothes that retain body heat well.
- Outer layer. Choose outerwear that will protect against wind, snow, and rain.
Check out this guide for a complete guide to how to layer your clothes for different seasons.
Try Kinesio Taping
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts have long used kinesiology tapes (also called as elastic therapeutic tapes, athlete tapes, sports tapes, or muscle tapes) for a variety of purposes. One of its chief uses is relieving muscle and joint pain. Kinesiology tapes work by providing support without restricting movement. Many athletes also use them to increase muscle function and help improve performance.
Shed Off Some Pounds
Losing weight is not the easiest thing to do, especially during the holiday season, when people tend to do the opposite. However, it can do a lot to alleviate joint pain. Just shedding off one pound can take off four pounds of pressure on your knees, says an article by the Arthritis Foundation.
Keep off the weight during the holidays by practicing healthy habits, like limiting your portions, avoiding sugary and fatty foods, exercising regularly, and eating high-fiber, low-calorie foods.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
The lack of sunshine during the winter months can mean you’re not getting enough vitamin D, which can exacerbate arthritis pain. Vitamin D deficiency has many common symptoms with other medical conditions. Go to your doctor to get your vitamin D levels checked, and get supplements if they are low.
Get a Massage
A good massage can do wonders to reduce the aches and pains you’re feeling in your joints and muscles. Getting a massage from a licensed therapist or professional masseur can lower down the production of cortisol and boost that of serotonin in the body, according to research. It can also help reduce the creation of a neurotransmitter associated with pain, even leading to better quality sleep.
No one wants to spend their holidays (or day, for that matter) in constant pain. Achy joints during the cold weather can be uncomfortable, at best, and debilitating, at worst. Try the methods listed above to help alleviate some of your sores. If the pain persists and gets unbearable, consult your doctor immediately.