Inputs from: Dr Vijayabhaskar, Physiotherapist and Head of Rehabilitation, Nightingales- Home Healthcare Services.
Winter is here; a difficult season for most elderly, especially those suffering from Arthritis. The tenacity of this common yet painful condition tends to increase during cold, winter days. Arthritis is a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease; which means it is an inflammation of the joints and can affect one or multiple joints.
The symptoms of arthritis are most commonly seen in adults above the age of 60-65 years; cold weather only adds to the excessive pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. While there is no permanent cure for the condition, many health experts suggest tweaking their diet in a bid to better manage the condition.
As mercury drops, joint aches rise. Winter can be the season of pain for people with arthritis. The exact science behind cold related joint aches is uncertain, but there is no doubt symptoms can worsen. Some studies suggest that changes in barometric pressure worsen joint pain in people with arthritis. But this can be managed well by exercise, diet and some prescribed medicines.
The changes in the air pressure that have shown that a slight drop in pressure can be a factor in arthritic joint pain. In addition to this, blood circulation becomes limited owing to lack of physical activity during that happens during this season. It has also been found that in this time, blood circulation is lesser in the peripheral areas.
Whether the joint pain & weather connection is true or not, you can still use these arthritis pain relief tips:
1. Stay warm: Especially use some supports to cover & keep the joints warm.
2. Exercise: The less sedentary you are, the better your physical function. Walking is one of the best exercises to anybody. So keep moving at least in your home. Exercise eases arthritic pain. It increases strength, endurance and flexibility of your body and reduces pain. Walking is one of the best exercises to anybody. So keep moving at least in your home. If you want to do weight training exercises, please does it as per your physios advise. One wrong exercise can make your pain even worst. I always advise my patients learn first what you are not supposed to do rather than what exercise you have to do.
3. Moist Heat: Moist heat always helps to ease your arthritic pain. Usually people use electric heating pad or hot water bag, but they have to use it carefully. I have seen people sleep while taking this and some feel that longer & hotter it is, may help you to reduce the pain faster and they end up in burning their skin. It is ideally should be around 15 to 20 minutes only. Patients with Neuropathies(diabetic neuropathy) should be more cautious while using moist heat.
4. Eat-Healthy: Always have a balanced diet. But, certain foods which contains Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin K & vitamin C help to ease your joint pain.Avoid foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which may trigger painful inflammation.
5. Hydrate: Even mild dehydration might make you more sensitive to pain. So keep yourself hydrated.
6. Lose weight: Usually many people become less active in the winter and that leads to put on few kilos and this directly impacts with their pain.
7. Supplements: Low level of Vitamin D might play a big role in your joint pain. But, It should be taken under the physicians supervision.
Always remember that aggravated arthritic pain in winter is a short term pain and 2/3 of arthritic patients experience it. But following the above tips will ease your pain and help you to do the day to day activities.