Cold weather is known to aggravate joint pain, though the reason for this is not quite clear. People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis report having more joint pain in winter. Winter time activities such as shoveling snow can strain your back, neck and shoulders. Here are some tips to help manage your winter aches and pains:
- Shovel if you must, but use the right technique. Experts advise using an ergonomic shovel and pushing the snow rather then trying to lift it. Picking up small portions of snow and shoveling in both directions can reduce strain.
- Doing low impact exercises can help. Make your winter an active one by doing aerobic exercises, riding a stationary bike, swimming, and weight training. All this will help reduce joint stiffness and pain.
- Eat right. Don’t binge on foods loaded with sugar and saturated fat. Saturated fats increase inflammation throughout the body and if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, they can trigger joint pain. Focus on a lean protein, low fat, fiber-rich diet to reduce aches and pains. Drink plenty of fluids.
- Stay warm. Wear protective clothes and sturdy shoes when you’re outside. Try and avoid walking in slippery places as a fall can worsen your condition.
Winter can be fun, but only if you know how to manage your aches and pains. If your arthritis acts up, taking NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help. But if even these fail to work, you should realize it’s time to get professional help. Locate a reliable pain management center. The right center will have a team of specialists such as orthopedists, neurologists, and pain management doctors working in conjunction to provide their patients with a customized treatment plan for relief from persistent pain.