The Changing Weather & Aching Joints
Brrr—the days are getting short and cold. If you experience joint pain, you may have noticed that during these cold winter months there is something about the weather that seems to make those joints ache more than usual. If you are wondering if it is just something in your head, it’s not your imagination. The reason for that extra ache can be attributed to changes in humidity and barometric pressure. In fact, any type of inflammatory condition such as arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis can be affected by such weather changes.
What causes most joint pain? Mechanical factors are the leading cause of painful joints and the most significant mechanical change is the decrease in the ability to move the joint through its full range of motion. It’s the lack of movement that tends to start the journey towards stiffness in the joint structures.
Here are three steps to make your joints feel better
1. Eat right. Load up your plate with food that will curb inflammation and ease pain felt in your joints. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and nuts help curb inflammation to ease joint pain. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, or green tea may also help.
2. Add supplements. Make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D to help keep your bones strong and prevent joint pain. Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin may help to increase lubrication in your joints.
3. Exercise. No matter what the reason for your joint pain, exercise should be an integral part in managing that pain. However, be sure to take care to avoid the use of heavy weight when exercising.
Instead, try to focus on stretching and exercises that will help the body achieve full range of motion. Some exercises beneficial for joint strengthening and range of motion are swimming, or using the Elliptical machine. Bring your workout indoors and don’t overdo it—intense workouts may trigger joint pain.
So as the weather gets colder outside, don’t be alarmed if your joints seem to be aching more—but don’t let the chilly weather keep you from going about your normal routine. Contact Physical
Therapy can help to identify the cause of the pain and take steps to relieve the pain and strengthen the surrounding muscles to reduce the chance of further or long-term injury.
If you are your patients are experiencing aching joints, call today to schedule an appointment.