By David Jung:
I don’t think you need me to remind you how cold it’s been up in the North East recently. It’s gone from being just cold and has entered “bitterly cold” territory!
Given that the weather outside is so frightful, more people than usual are dealing with aches and pains in their joints. We’ve got more people calling up Physio Rooms to get some help and advice on what to do.
Have you felt the cold deep in your bones yourself?
If you’ve felt the cold that deeply and are dealing with more joint pain than you usually do, if you’ve only just started to notice it, then I’m here to share some tips that we’ve handed out to patients to ease aches and pains and get you through the day.
Let’s get started then…
· Exercise with Care
Regular exercise is vital for keeping joints moving without any aches or pains, especially when the weather gets cold. Don’t worry if you aren’t a big fan of exercising though. We’re not talking about doing anything too strenuous here. Even something as simple as moving your body and doing low-impact exercises (which don’t cause a lot of strain to joints) can help.
Think exercises like swimming and walking on the treadmill, or taking a walk outside. Avoid the pavements when the weather gets icy though, as they can be dangerous at this time of year. Using an exercise bike at a casual pace is another good choice.
Pilates and yoga are excellent choices for keeping joints supple. What matters is that you find some way to add a bit of movement into your day each and every day.
Tip; Make sure that you warm up properly before exercising, especially in cold weather. When you finish with your exercise, take time to treat yourself to a lovely warm bath to battle the cold and banish any post-exercise aches and pains.
· Have Fatty Fish for Dinner
Do you love fish like mackerel and salmon? Great news; not only are these oily fish delicious, but they are also packed full of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of the myriad of benefits that omega-3 fatty acids offer, they also help to reduce inflammation in joints and alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.
These oily fish are also good sources of vitamin D3, which is needed to keep bones healthy and strong.
Tip: Try to get two or three portions of fatty fish each week if you are able to, or consider getting fish oil capsule supplements to get more of these vital nutrients.
· Consider Supplementation
You’ve probably been inundated with information about the benefits of supplements and the importance of taking them. This is because there are some supplements that do indeed work to sooth joints. They may even prevent cartilage from getting damaged over time.
The supplements that you want are things like omega-3 fish oils, glucosamine, and vitamin C. As always, be sure to consult your doctor before you take a dietary supplement to ensure that it is safe for you to use.
· Make Smart Footwear Choices
What you’ve got on your feet is an important consideration in the cold winter months. Given that there may be icy pavements out there, the risk of falling down is heightened. People who have arthritis also report that their symptoms can be worse during the winter.
The best footwear to wear right now are flat, supportive, rubber-soled shoes and boots that prevent slipping. What you definitely don’t want to be wearing, if you can avoid it anyway, is high heels. High heels not only increase the chances of falling, but they also put more stress on the legs and back. They aren’t an ideal footwear choice at the best of time and shouldn’t be worn for long periods of time.
· Keep Joints Warm
It’s important to keep your joints warm, whether or not you are susceptible to aches and pains in them. When you get cold it causes your muscles to stiffen and tense up, which makes them more prone to injury and is just uncomfortable in general.
Don’t forget to put on some thermals and wrap up warm in lots of layers. Find the snuggest gloves and socks that you can get. If you still have trouble getting warm, then invest on some heat pads that go inside gloves and boots to keep the cold at bay.
· Treat Pain Naturally
There’s no need to reach for the medication to soothe those aching joints. Heat is a great way to relieve joint pain for example. As well as taking a warm bath, try using heat pads and warm compressors to alleviate aches and pains.
Massage is an effective way to deal with aches. Our clients are constantly coming back for another massage to keep their aches away after treatment. You don’t even have to be one of our patients getting treatment to book a massage for yourself.
Stay warm and take care of your joints. These tips should help you to get through the winter without feeling as much pain.