A Guide To Winter Arthritis Self Care
When winter raises its frosty head, it can be an important time of year to pay attention to your self care – especially if you happen to suffer from arthritis. Cold days and nights can lead to increased pain – this is because, during the winter months, air pressure commonly drops. This decrease can lead to the expansion of bones, muscles, and tendons, meaning that joints in the body bear additional pressure, causing discomfort and making movement and joint flexibility more painful.
When this happens, you may not want to be reaching for a solution in a box of medicine every time. Here are some arthritis self care tips for winter that you can try to bring comfort back to your everyday life.
While it can be tempting to curl up under a blanket or cosy up to a warm cup of tea on the lounge, remaining active is an important part of arthritis self care, particularly in the winter. Regular physical activity helps to maintain joint mobility, so it’s a great way to shake off those winter blues.
If you find that your age has contributed to your arthritis, you can still enjoy low-impact exercises. Try swimming or water aerobics (in a heated pool for winter), tai chi, take a brisk walk, or even spend some time getting your garden ready for the summer. Gentle stretching is also a great option.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Winter is a time for indulgences and comfort foods – but those creamy pastas, hot chocolates, rich stews and warm pastries can all lead to a bit of weight gain. And of course, excessive weight puts extra strain on our joints, which can lead to a worsening of arthritis symptoms. It can be a good idea to watch your portions as part of your arthritis care, and if you need some help shedding some stubborn kilos, talk to a dietician who can help you switch things up in your diet without depriving you of the foods you love.
Dress For The Season
Throw on those gloves and wrap yourself up in a scarf – winter is here, and dressing appropriately should absolutely be part of your winter arthritis self care. Warm, layered clothing is a great way to protect sore joints from the cold and maintain body heat. This is because when you warm up a sore joint, the surrounding blood vessels get bigger, allowing for more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. This all leads to better circulation and improved relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.
Good footwear should also be part of your winter wardrobe, since supportive footwear with good conditioning and support can go a long way towards improved comfort.
Explore Heat Therapy
As we’ve mentioned previously, the temperature around us can play a large role in the way our joints feel. This is where heat therapy can be used to help alleviate arthritis symptoms in winter. This therapy works by altering blood flow, reducing inflammation, and soothing the affected joints.
Heat therapy involves applying heat to arthritic joints and can help relax muscles, increase blood circulation, and relieve stiffness. This is usually done with warm compresses, heating pads, or warm baths. Consider using a moist heat source, such as a warm towel or a hot water bottle wrapped in a damp cloth, for deeper penetration and better results.
Make Use Of Assistive Devices And Equipment
If you’re an individual who suffers from age-related arthritis, it’s always a good idea to make use of assistive equipment, especially in winter. Canes and braces can help support joint function, as can taking the time to look about your house and making it easier to navigate when using these devices. You can also reach out to an occupational therapist who can provide guidance when it comes to using these items.
Consider Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is non-invasive and considered a holistic treatment option for arthritis, making it a perfect part of your winter arthritis self care routine. As chiropractors focus on improving joint mobility and overall spinal health, they can be an excellent tool in the fight against arthritic pain. Chiropractic treatments for arthritis may include spinal adjustments, joint mobilisation, soft tissue therapies, and rehabilitative exercises, and may also provide guidance on therapeutic exercises and stretches to strengthen supporting muscles, enhance joint stability, and improve overall joint function.
At Dynamic Chiropractic, we can provide you with excellent Brisbane-based chiropractic care for arthritis. Talk to our friendly team today, and we will create a personalised treatment plan aimed at holistically supporting your arthritis.