As the temperature drops and winter approaches, those with Arthritis often suffer from increased pain and stiffness in their joints. Arthritis does not occur in just one part of the body, it can present in various areas of the body, mainly joints. There are over 100 kinds of Arthritis and related conditions. When you have Arthritis, your joints are painful, may swell, feel stiff, and can make it difficult to live your life to your full potential.
Why Do We See A Flare Up In Colder Months?
During the colder months, many with Arthritis experience flare-ups, which increases joint pain and stiffness, making daily tasks unbearable. Some contributing factors for this are:
- Barometric Pressure – Changes in weather patterns cause shifts in barometric pressure, especially during winter. This can affect joint tissues. Some individuals with Arthritis report increased pain and stiffness when barometric pressure drops – potentially due to the expansion and contraction of tissue surrounding the joint.
- Blood Circulation – Colder temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict, causing reduced blood flow to parts of the body. Poor circulation can limit the delivery of nutrients and oxygen; resulting in increased stiffness and pain around the affected area.
- Vitamin D Levels – Reduced exposure to sunlight during winter can lead to lower Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining bone health and supplementing the immune system. Those who have low levels of Vitamin D may experience worsening symptoms during winter months.
How can we manage Arthritis flare-ups?
Even though we can’t control the temperature, there are things we can do to handle and reduce possible flare-ups in the colder months:
- Protecting Our Joints – Use a supportive device like a brace to provide stability and protect the affected joint(s).
- Vitamin D Supplements – Increased Vitamin D levels may help mitigate Arthritis symptoms. Consider speaking to your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplements.
- Heat and Cold Therapy – Applying heat to the affected area can help relax muscles and relieve joint stiffness. Alternatively, applying a cold pack can numb the area and reduce inflammation.
- Exercise and Movement – Staying active and moving your body can actually help with Arthritis during the winter. Regular exercise can reduce joint stiffness and pain, making it easier to manage winter Arthritis symptoms. Our team at Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy Penrith can help you with an exercise program specifically tailored to your requirements.
With winter fast approaching, it’s vital that we prepare our bodies for the upcoming drop in temperature. For those with Arthritis, make sure you layer up to protect your joints, get an extra dose of Vitamin D, move your body and use heat and cold therapy to assist with the pain increases. Here at Progressive Physio, our team can help you with reduces your flare-ups and improve your mobility during the colder months.