If you look on the calendar, winter is almost here. But for many, one glance at the thermometer says winter has already arrived. They can literally feel it. Cold weather equates to aches, pains and other issues. Exactly how or why this happens is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists know enough to have key pieces of the puzzle in place. The main theory is that Barometric pressure ( the pressure of the air) can and does affect the joints. Arthritis patients know this all too well. But seasonal weather can affect more than muscles and joints. Many Chronic illnesses are vulnerable. Your blood pressure is higher in the winter. Why? Cold temperatures narrow your blood vessels. Migraines can also be triggered by extreme temperatures (hot or cold). And the list goes on …
Back in 2007, a Tufts University study found that a 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with increased Arthritis pain. Imagine, for a moment, what a 20-30 degree drop feels like. Ouch!
If you or a loved one suffer from weather changes, there are some things that you can do to manage your condition. Thankfully, these tips aren’t difficult:
- Talk to your doctor about seasonal changes in your disease.
- Avoid becoming a couch-potato. Exercise actually boosts your body’s production of synovial fluid. That keeps your joints lubricated & feeling good.
- Stay warm. Remember your coat, gloves, hat, etc., whenever you go outside. And consider treating yourself indoors, too. Flannel sheets & a heating-pad are always comfy!
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Make sure to get enough Vitamin D, daily.
- Consider dropping some weight. Just one pound lost eliminates 4 pounds of pressure from your knees!
- Treat yourself to a massage. It alleviates pain and stress.
Last, but not least, don’t let the cold of a winter day or night get you down. Address your symptoms and maintain your optimism. The weather can be frightful (yes, a certain holiday song is rolling around in my head), but there are tried and true ways to get through the season with minimal hardship. I believe it starts now, before the pain is overwhelming and your mobility is hampered. So, please, don’t ignore what your body is saying to you. Don’t assume that it won’t happen “this year”. Take a proactive approach to your health and well-being. You’ll be glad that you did!
*Photo by Nicholas Selman on Unsplash