Do Your Bones Ache In The Cold? 5 Ways To Treat Symptoms Of Arthritis

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.

MMJRecs - doctor
Image by humberto chavez on Unsplash: If you’re experiencing changes in your arthritis symptoms, always talk to your doctor.

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.

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Image by Ravi Patel on Unsplash: What helps arthritis in cold weather? Often, gentle exercise can help.

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

Can Herbal Remedies Really Treat Arthritis?

More and more people are looking to supplement their current chronic illness treatment plans with natural remedies. Many natural medicine options can provide relief from a variety of different ailments and the debilitating symptoms that often go along with them.

For conditions such as arthritis, people face pain, swelling, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion that often gets worse over time and interrupts their ability to complete day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and running errands. With arthritis affecting roughly 23% of all American adults, it’s clear that natural remedies may a viable option when it comes to helping those affected deal with their chronic health condition. So can herbal remedies really treat arthritis? And is marijuana for arthritis an effective option? Let’s find out.

Herbs to fight arthritis pain

Pain and inflammation are common symptoms in those who have arthritis. There are eight different types of arthritis, all of which are caused by different things. For example, osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage in the joint, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the body’s immune system attacking healthy joints. Regardless of the type of arthritis, there are many herbs that can provide relief from the resultant pain and inflammation.

Natural medicines have gained more attention in recent years because they are less likely to cause adverse side effects. They are naturally derived, which may also be a healthier alternative for some people who are sensitive to the chemically created medications most often used today.

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Image by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash: Medical marijuana may need more studies to determine if it’s a contender for the best medicine for arthritis pain, but current research shows that it could help when used in conjunction with traditional therapies.

The best herbs for pain relief and inflammation caused by arthritis include:  

Willow bark

Willow bark can be taken as a tea or in a tablet, and has been used since ancient times as a way to stave off pain and inflammation. Research has suggested that willow bark may be useful in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Turmeric

Used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties because of its main component, curcumin. Although some research suggests that it can help with arthritis pain and inflammation, more studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is popular for treating sunburn, but it also provides anti-inflammatory properties without the harsh side effects that some people suffer from while taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. The most useful dosing method for aloe vera and arthritis is oral.  

Boswellia

Recent research has found that Boswellia, also known as frankincense, has anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit those with arthritic conditions. Human trials found that those taking frankincense capsules saw an improvement in pain, stiffness, and joint function.

Cat’s claw

Cat’s claw may help to reduce swelling caused by arthritis and it could help boost the immune system. It is thought to help those with arthritic conditions because of its ability to suppress the tumor necrosis factor. It does come with some side effects and limitations, though.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus may be effective at treating arthritis pain through topical application. The leaves of the eucalyptus plant contain tannins, which some studies have suggested relieves swelling and pain caused by arthritis. Treatment with eucalyptus for arthritis is often followed with heating pads to increase its efficacy. 

Ginger

Ginger is more often used in cooking, but its anti-inflammatory properties can help ease pain and inflammation. Some researchers are hopeful that ginger may become an alternative natural therapy to the use of over-the-counter and prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Thunder God vine

This long-used medicinal herb helps to suppress excessive immune activity and lower inflammation throughout the body. Because of its ability to lower immune activity, it may be helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that are caused by an overactive immune response. It may come with serious negative effects, though, and should be taken only with caution and after speaking to a doctor.

MMJRecs - eucalyptus
Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: Eucalyptus leaves used in conjunction with heating pads may provide effective relief of joint pain.

Marijuana for arthritis

Research has found that those with arthritis can find some relief from their symptoms by using medical marijuana. The best types of medical marijuana to be used for an arthritic condition are strains with a high CBD potency, because CBD is the active ingredient that can lead to pain relief. It’s also thought that strains with a high CBD can also lead to lowered inflammation in the body, thus helping to lessen the impact of inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis.

It’s worth noting that it may take time to find a specific strain and type that works for you and your arthritic condition. You should also continue with treatments prior to and then in conjunction with the use of medical marijuana, after speaking with your doctor about your options. Medical marijuana may not replace your arthritis medication, but it could help relieve some of your symptoms as a supplemental form of disease management.

Featured image by Anna Auza on Unsplash

4 Ways Medical Marijuana Can Help Arthritis Patients

Medical marijuana is used for many chronic conditions, one of which is arthritis in all its forms. Like many of the conditions that qualify patients for MMJ cards, the main course of action for those that suffer from arthritis is the management of their symptoms, which include joint pain and stiffness, among others. MMJ has been used by many arthritis sufferers to manage these symptoms. So how does marijuana help arthritis, exactly? Here’s what you need to know about MMJ and joint pain.

A bit of background on arthritis

Arthritis is a catch-all term for several distinctive conditions that cause swelling and tenderness in the joints, resulting in pain and stiffness. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your joints to break down, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack the joints, beginning with the linings of the joints, most commonly in the hands and wrists.

In both cases, the course of treatment is to manage the symptoms of arthritis to make the patient more comfortable, which often involves reducing pain and inflammation. This is where the relationship between MMJ and arthritis comes into play.

Can marijuana help arthritis?

If you’ve been wondering “Can marijuana help joint pain?”, the answer is yes! Medical marijuana helps with arthritic joint pain by targeting the two main symptoms: pain and inflammation. When taking medical marijuana, the phytocannabinoids it contains (specifically THC) bind to the cannabinoid receptors of your brain, producing euphoria and pain relief. Additionally, these same phytocannabinoids (specifically CBD) help reduce swelling and inflammation in different parts of the body, including joints.

Interestingly, rheumatoid arthritis causes the body to release inflammatory proteins into the joints, including cytokines, chemokines, nitric oxide synthetase, and by-products of arachidonic acid. These in turn causes the body to produce and release endocannabinoids – the chemicals that bind to the same cannabinoid receptors as THC. Why would the body release ECs as part of the inflammatory response while people use MMJ to combat it? Supposedly, it’s the body’s natural way to try to reduce this inflammation, meaning the phytocannabinoids in medical marijuana actually boost the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory response.

MMJ Recs - joint pain

The main symptom of arthritis is joint pain. So can marijuana help joint pain? Let’s find out!

How does marijuana help arthritis patients?

1) Pain relief

The interaction of THC, CBD and other phytocannabinoids with cannabinoid receptors leads to generalized pain reduction. The euphoric effects of THC have also been held up as reducing the painful symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, even if only through distraction.

2) Inflammation reduction

More notable in the application against rheumatoid arthritis than osteoarthritis, the phytocannabinoids in medical marijuana are believed to help reduce inflammation, specifically in arthritic joints which show an elevated level of ECs. CBD is considered by some to be more effective for inflammation reduction, but current thinking tends to accept that the naturally balanced levels of unprocessed marijuana rather than extracts are the best option for most people.

3) Prevention of nerve damage

Most studies into MMJ and arthritis aren’t carried out on humans due to the ongoing federal ban, but one animal-based study found that “prophylactic CBD treatment prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage in… [osteoarthritis] joints.”

4) Reduced side effects

Medical marijuana certainly isn’t without side effects. Many might consider the “high” from THC and resulting physiological reactions, such as increased heart rate, as major issues – not to mention the potential dangers of consuming MMJ via smoking. However, the physical side effects are considered minor compared to those of other drugs like NSAIDs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen), which in strong doses can cause long-term damage to major organs.

What are the best strains?

The MMJ strains most appropriate for arthritis depend on the individual user’s needs. Generally speaking, there are two strains that you’ll come across: cannabis sativa, with high CBD levels, and cannabis indica, with more THC. Research increasingly indicates that a balance of phytocannabinoids could prove the most effective route to take, but those looking to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC may wish to consider getting a strain with higher levels of CBD.

MMJ Recs - Marijuana in Hand

MMJ and joint pain relief go hand in hand if you have the right strain.

How can arthritis sufferers get an MMJ card?

Arthritis is possibly the most common reason for a patient to get an MMJ card, which makes it a relatively easy process, especially when applying online through a platform like MMJ Recs. MMJ Recs allows the patient to complete the entire process from their own home and without having to deal with their normal GP. The first step to acquiring an MMJ card is getting a letter of recommendation from a registered medical practitioner. Through MMJ Recs, this can be done by completing an online medical form (along with the appropriate attachments), then having a conversation with a medical professional via video chat to determine your eligibility. If they believe medical marijuana is right for you, your letter of recommendation can be sent almost immediately, which is then used to secure your MMJ card to be used in dispensaries.

When it comes down to it, we don’t know all of the connections between MMJ and joint pain. However, there is a growing base of evidence that MMJ can manage pain and reduce inflammation for arthritis patients, and all with fewer side effects than other drugs.