By Barrett White
Like oil in the moving parts of a machine, our joints are lubricated by a substance called synovial fluid. As the temperatures drop in the winter months, that fluid can become less like lubricating oil and more like molasses.
While cold weather can’t cause arthritis, it can make the symptoms more unbearable. Exposure to cold weather can cause slower blood circulation and heightened pain sensitivity. And have you ever experienced a flare-up when it’s about to rain? It’s not in your head: Our joints can detect a change in barometric pressure, or in other words, the pressure in the air around us. This pressure changes as storms come and go.
For those suffering from arthritis – whether it’s inflammatory or not – these low temperatures and changes in the atmosphere throughout winter can cause stiffness and pain that may be worse than in other seasons.
There are steps you can take to soothe your arthritis symptoms over the next few months, though:
- Stay warm: This can look many different ways. Maybe you bundle up with an extra layer, use a heating pad, or use gloves and a scarf when you go out. Taking a warm shower or bath works wonders, too.
- Loosen up and get moving: Stretch out your joints and try some physical activity – in that order. Warming up your joints before some light exercise can be beneficial for calming arthritis-related pain. Start off by rolling your wrists and ankles, stretching out your hands, and bending those knees! Follow it up with some light aerobic exercise to warm your body.
- Eat balanced meals: Eating well won’t cure arthritis, but it can go a long way toward easing the symptoms. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts, and avocado can help to lower inflammation.
- Consider compression gloves: If your arthritis is worst in the joints of your hands, consider wearing a pair of compression gloves to not only alleviate fluid buildup, but to also keep your hands warm all at the same time. Check out this link to see which pair might be best for your symptoms – many are available for an affordable price.
Would you like to chat with your Legacy provider about your arthritis symptoms? Schedule a visit today online or by calling (832) 548-5000.