Coping with Arthritis Pain This Winter
Did you know that 23 percent of adults in the U.S. live with arthritis? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 54 million people currently experience pain, aching, stiffness and swelling around their joints. This negative sensation is felt year round, but symptoms are commonly worse during the winter months.
Barometric pressure is likely the reason for the seasonal discomfort, according to The Weather Channel. Changes in the weight of the air pressing against the earth's surface can lead to tightness and stiffness in the joints.
As the temperatures start to drop, you might find yourself feeling more tense and achy than usual. While it may be normal, that doesn't mean you should put up with the pain. Here are a few natural ways to cope with arthritis during the winter:
Layering your clothing during winter is the key to comfort. The warmth will keep you feeling cozy as well as, make less likely to tense up and add pressure to your joints. Whether you're simply retrieving the mail or heading out for a winter-related activity, make sure you're always bundled up. The Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia gave the following recommendations:
- Wear loose layers to trap body heat.
- Don't forget a pair of mittens or gloves to protect your hands.
- Remember to wear a hat because heat is most often lost through the head.
- Protect your neck with a scarf.
- Avoid numb, damp feet by wearing waterproof socks and boots.
Bundling up during winter can reduce arthritis pain and lessen your chance of catching a cold.
You might be inclined to cuddle up in your favorite blanket with a cup of hot tea on a cold night, but you need to keep exercising. Without regular physical activity, your joints are more likely to stiffen. Following an exercise regimen is a great natural remedy for reducing aching and tightness associated with weather-induced arthritis pain. Lifestyle blog Organic Authority suggested aquatic exercise as a beneficial style for coping with joint issues because it's non-impact. Other ways to get moving during the winter include walking around the mall, completing household chores, taking a yoga class andperforming your own variety of moderately intense aerobic activity at the fitness center.
If you don't exercise every day, make it a habit to stretch every morning when you wake up and again before you go to bed. This activity will loosen up your joints and keep them from aching all night.
Consume Anti-inflammatory Foods
While there is currently no cure for arthritis, changing your eating habits can drastically change the way you manage your condition. Being overweight or obese has a huge impact on your chance of developing arthritis, as the excess pounds add unnecessary pressure to your joints. Removing refined sugars, saturated fats and animal products from your diet is an easy way to reduce your body fat. Replacing bad eating habits with a primarily raw, plant-based diet that's loaded with anti-inflammatory foods can reduce the swelling and pain that's commonly associated with arthritis.
Organic Nutrition suggested eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as nuts and flaxseed. Other natural, plant-based foods that can reduce inflammation include blueberries, kelp, garlic, onion, watercress, parsley, celery and lemon.
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