It’s a chilly evening outside, and the freezing temperatures aren’t doing your arthritis any favors. Do your bones ache in the cold? If so, you’re not alone – many arthritis patients find that the cold weather makes their condition worse.
But why does arthritis hurt more in the cold? Basically, cold and damp weather worsens joint pain as the barometric pressure makes joints swell, placing pressure on the nerves. The cold also reduces circulation, which can increase pain.
If your bones ache in the cold from arthritis, you know how devastating it can be. However, you don’t need to suffer all winter – help is available. Read on for five of the best ways to treat symptoms of arthritis in cold weather.
1. Keep Yourself Warm
Although the winter months can be ice-cold, it’s possible to ease arthritis systems by keeping your body as warm as possible. When you need to go outside, dressing in layers can help, as they trap in body heat. Always wear mittens, a hat, a scarf, and warm socks, protecting your extremities.
Inside, you might feel more comfortable with a heating pad or electric blanket, or enjoying a warm shower or bath to ease the chill. If you have a programmable thermostat, try to adjust it so the house is warmer at the times of day when you feel arthritis pain the most, such as early morning or evenings.
2. Talk To Your Doctor
If you find your arthritis is getting noticeably worse in the cold, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the issue. While many arthritis patients get benefits from using over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or NSAIDs, there might be more going on.
Your doctor might be able to adjust your prescription medications to give you more relief from the cold temperatures.
3. Wear Supportive Joint Splints
What helps arthritis in cold weather? For some patients, joint splints can make a big difference. These are compression garments that fit tightly over your wrist, knee, or other joints, providing support and encouraging correct positioning.
If you really feel the cold in your thumbs and fingers, for example, you might find that a wrist splint can help provide relief. Often, your doctor or therapist will recommend you wear these devices at night.
When you’re feeling a flare-up coming on, wearing the splint might help. However, check your hands or joints regularly after wearing the splint to make sure they aren’t sore or red, as this could indicate that the splint is too tight or that you have an allergy to its material.
4. Relieve Symptoms With CBD
You might have heard about CBD and its ability to relieve pain. But does CBD help with arthritis?
CBD is an oil that’s derived from the cannabis plant, used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties; it’s one of several natural herbs that can help with arthritis. Many arthritis patients find that CBD can be effective, especially in the winter months.
Anecdotal research shows that with CBD use, arthritis patients enjoy improved sleep, a noticeable decrease in pain, and reduced anxiety about their condition. Research also shows that topical application of CBD can help relieve pain and inflammation for arthritis. CBD is also effective for joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
You might be surprised at the immediate relief CBD can provide, so it’s worth trying out if you’re looking for a natural pain remedy.
5. Adjust Your Exercise Routine
Exercise is important for everyone, especially those with arthritis. It increases flexibility and strength, which can help with joint pain. However, when it’s bitterly cold outside and everything hurts, the last thing you want to do is go outdoors and exercise.
If you can adjust your exercise routine to suit the cold weather, you might feel better. Try exercising indoors, where it will be easier to stay comfortable and warm. Swimming or water aerobics in an indoor, heated pool can be a great workout, as can something as simple as walking in heated shopping centers.
If you want to join a gym, try to find a personal trainer who has experience in working with arthritis patients, as they can provide a safe, tailored workout to meet your needs.
While working out, you also want to feed your body with nutritious foods and vegetables, avoiding fried, processed foods or foods rich in sugars, as they’re known to make arthritis worse. In winter, we tend to spend much of our time indoors, so you might also want to consider a vitamin D supplement, since you might not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight when it’s cold out.
While the winter months can be miserable for those with arthritis, the good news is that you don’t need to suffer. Try out some of the tips above and see if they can make a difference. However, if you’re thinking of making any big changes to your medication regime, diet, or lifestyle, always talk to your doctor first to make sure it’s safe. Then you can start enjoying the winter months, instead of dreading them, thanks to these effective arthritis relief tips.
Featured image by Claudia van Zyl on Unsplash