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How to prevent seasonal joint pain

Are you able to predict changes in the weather because of joint pain and allergies? You’re not alone. Many people who suffer from chronic joint pain and stiffness have worse symptoms when the weather is colder. Although scientists still can’t say what exactly causes chronic conditions to worsen during the fall and winter, the liaison is definitely there. Snow, rain, humidity, and low temperatures are known to cause a lot of pain in the joints, and people just don’t know what to do about it. 

We are here to help you find the way to manage seasonal allergies and joint pain with some simple tips and tricks. Although every patient is different, these are composed to help everyone suffering from chronic pain get through the cold days. 

Why does cold weather cause joint pain?

It might seem odd not to know what exactly causes cold weather joint pain. According to one theory, the drops in barometric pressure causes tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissues to expand, simultaneously leaving less space within the body. This can cause pain in the joints, especially if they are affected by arthritis. According to another theory, the changes in barometric pressure affect the nerves exposed in worn-out joints and cause pain and discomfort. 

Regardless of different theories, scientists have made a connection between joint pain and cold, rainy, and humid weather. The same applies to allergies and mood changes. People who are feeling sad or depressed are more likely to suffer from extensive pain during cold weather than those who are emotionally stable. 

It’s also important to note that everyone reacts differently to changes in the weather. People with arthritis, chronic pain, and other health conditions are more vulnerable to cold weather. 

How to Prevent Seasonal Joint Pain?

There are several joint pain treatments you can try to get through the winter season and unbearable cold weather. Not all of them are suited for everyone, so make sure to explore your options until you find the one that helps. Here are our suggestions: 

Keep an Eye on the Weather

The crucial thing in the battle with cold weather is a strategic advantage. Don’t let your opponent catch you off guard. Stay aware of the weather at all times so you can know what to expect. By paying attention to the current changes, you can find out what causes you discomfort and learn to prevent it in the future. 

For example, if you’re more sensitive to variations in temperature levels, you can learn to protect your joints before the changes occur. The best way to do this is by wearing more layers of clothing, but we’ll talk more about that in the section below. For now, it’s important to say that monitoring the weather is the first and most essential step toward living without pain during cold weather. 

Pro Tip: The easiest way to track seasonal changes is through an online app. You can download a weather app and use it on your phone for free!

Stay Warm 

Cold air seems to affect the muscles, nerves, and joints to a great degree. Many people have noticed that warm clothing helps them manage the symptoms and lower the pain. Thus, when temperatures drop, try to keep yourself warm. Dress in multiple layers when outside and take warm showers or baths frequently. Items such as electric blankets and heated mattress pads can also help you stay warm, especially during the night. And of course, don’t forget to wear gloves, leggings, boots, and other warm clothing pieces when the winter strikes!

Move Around

Doctors usually recommend more or less physical activity depending on the types of joint pain. In most cases, however, inactivity leads to more stiffness and pain in the joints. To prevent this from happening, stay active through the winter. We are well aware that walking around when it’s freezing outside is not that attractive, but it will help you with seasonal joint pain

If walking on snow and rain is not something you’re particularly fond of, you can try getting yourself the treadmill or exercise bike. Swimming in a warm pool can also be highly beneficial for your joints. In general, whatever option you choose to stay active, your joints will thank you afterward. Just make sure to consult your doctor on your planned activities before you try them out. 

Adjust Diet

Diet is foundational for healthy functioning, and it’s very important for preventing joint pain too. If you want to protect your body during the winter, make sure to increase vitamin consumption and stay hydrated at all times. Vitamins D, E, A, and K are essential for joint health, and proper hydration relieves stress on the joints and ensures their smooth performance. 

Some foods can also help you stay healthy and pain-free. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation, so you can try eating more salmon or nuts. Leafy, dark greens will also provide you with vitamin K to strengthen your bones, and oranges, red peppers, and tomatoes will give you the much-needed vitamin C for slowing down cartilage loss. 

Apply Ice on Swelling Joints

If you notice increased swelling and pain in the joints during winter, turn to the ice for relief. Although this method doesn’t help everyone, it can be very convenient in some situations. When muscles and tendons swell and hurt due to inflammation and weather changes, ice and compression reduce those symptoms and return the joints to a healthy condition and proper function. Therefore, make sure to consult your physical therapist on using ice and cold compression treatments for winter. 

Wear a Compression Brace

Compression braces offer the extra support and padding your joints need so desperately during cold weather. That’s why we recommend you keep your favorite one within hand’s reach and put it on whenever necessary. Compression braces are easy to use and wear both inside and outside, and they can make your daily chores and activities easier to handle. 

Apply Heat for Aches and Soreness

Compared to ice, heat is more suitable for aches and sores. If you want to reduce pain during winter, use a hot pad, water bottle, or towel to warm up your joints. This will soften and relax your muscles and tissue around the joint, significantly lowering pain and discomfort. 

When to See a Doctor?

We listed some of the easy ways to prevent seasonal joint pain everyone can try out. However, if you experience any unusual or new symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Persistent swelling and redness, unbearable pain, difficulty using the joint, and other similar symptoms are something your doctor or physician should know about. 

Ease Seasonal Joint Pain with Physical Therapy in Phoenix

Are you looking for physical therapy in Phoenix to help you get through seasonal joint pain? Desert Edge Physical Therapy is here for you. We offer a wide range of options for people suffering from joint pain in Peoria, Sun City, Vistancia, and other surrounding areas. Whether you experienced an accident, a surgery, a sports injury, or you face everyday pains, we are here to support you with fully-individualized recovery plans. 

Desert Edge Physical Therapy specializes in sports medicine, orthopedic care, and post-surgery recovery. We can help you enjoy daily activities once again and live a pain-free life regardless of the weather. Contact us today, schedule a consultation, and win the fight against seasonal joint pain!

published on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021