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How to Keep Pains at Bay in Winter

Multispecialty pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC, offer customized treatment to address musculoskeletal conditions that may get worse in winter.


Why Winter Hurts

In many places, cold weather symbolizes barrenness and inactivity because everything appears to be at a standstill and the sunny weather makes way for snowy white surfaces and dull skies. The plummeting of the temperature results in muscles losing heat. The muscles contract which in turn leads to tightness throughout the body. Muscle tissue suffers the most damage. Heat is necessary for proper blood circulation and so it’s important to warm up now and then, particularly before exercising.

Among the areas most affected are the joints, which is why this time of year is particularly difficult for people with arthritis. Even people with no diagnosed condition of arthritis may experience joint pain during winter.

Arthritis Symptoms Aggravate In Winter

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two painful conditions that are commonly known to aggravate during winter. Osteoarthritis is the result of the cartilage cushioning the joint wasting away. As the cartilage wears away, it causes friction between the bones, leading to joint pain. Osteoarthritis can also be triggered by some injury that happened earlier in your life.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking the joints. The affected tissues become inflamed, causing the joint to swell, and become stiff and painful. According to the Arthritis Foundation, people suffering from the common kinds of arthritis could end up suffering more pain during winter as a result of the atmospheric conditions causing the swelling to increase within the joint capsule.

Painful Toes and Fingers

Raynauds Phenomenon is particularly the result of cold weather, though it need not affect everyone. The cold causes the blood vessels to get into a state of temporary spasm. That cuts off the blood flow. Its effects are felt in the painful toes and fingers, not the joints.

Warming up Helps

So how do you deal with these conditions? Warm yourself up. Rather than remaining physically still, do some activity to ensure your muscles don’t get stiffened. Movements such as those we do almost every day – walking, climbing stairs, squatting, bending, etc – are activities that keep the body warm. Practicing these movements can prevent the cold from affecting the body and making it stiff. If you’re already suffering pain, perform these movements at a level that is comfortable.

Exercising Warms Up the Joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation, inactivity causes stiffness in the joints. Exercising helps ease the arthritis pain and also increase flexibility and strength. It also contributes to improved quality of life by boosting your energy levels.

Pain and stiffness in the joints usually strike the most at the time of waking up in the morning. That could discourage you from exercising. Don’t let that happen. You can exercise later during the day. You can take a walk or do activities such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing that don’t put much strain on the joints. Use the dryer to warm your clothes before you put them on for your workout. And always remember to warm up before any kind of physical activity.

Layer Clothing to Prevent Hypothermia

Speaking of clothes, you already know that you need to really layer up to prevent the cold from getting to your body and causing hypothermia. There is also another principle at work here. Wearing clothes causes air pockets to form within the layers of dress that can heat up as a result of body temperature. That keeps you warmer.

While heading outdoors, ensure that you wear gloves, socks and a hat or some head covering so that your entire body is kept warm. It is recommended that your innermost clothing layer must be made of thin synthetic, on top of which should be a fleece layer and then a breathable, waterproof outer layer.

Preventing Slip & Fall Injuries

Activity is important, but make sure you wear the right shoes for them. Remember that slip & fall injuries are quite common during winter. Just walking could become very dangerous since walkways and sidewalks tend to become slippery. Obviously, activities such as skiing come with increased risk of falls. And falls could result in head injuries, fractured bones or strains and sprains.

The Right Shoes to Keep You from Slipping

Ensure that you wear the right footwear for the terrain and keep away from surfaces that are slippery. It is important to wear shoes with good tread and grip. Trail shoes usually provide more stability and grip when compared to usual running shoes that aren’t quite designed for slippery surfaces. Multispecialty healthcare centers offer nonsurgical treatment pain management options, including chiropractic care, for various musculoskeletal conditions and injuries caused by falls.

Get the Right Dose of Vitamin D

Vitamin D ensures that your muscles function well and your bones remain healthy. The body usually makes enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight in summer. But, when you bundle up in cold weather, the skin cannot make enough vitamin D. In fact, the sun stays lower in the sky in winter.

10 mcg per day is the recommended amount of Vitamin D and during this time, we have to rely on food sources and supplements to get this dose. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can help in reducing swelling and pain in the joints. Milk, yoghurt, egg yolk and margarine are other sources of vitamin D.

Protect against Winter Sunburn

As much as sunlight is helpful for the body to absorb Vitamin D, it can also cause sunburn in patients with sensitive skin and rheumatoid arthritis patients who are on certain medication. These medications make the skin more solar sensitive. Make sure to use the right sunscreen on the exposed parts of the body and to also wear sunglasses when you step outside.

Going by these tips can keep you safe in winter. If you do develop a musculoskeletal ailment or suffer a joint injury, you can always rely on a professional multispecialty healthcare center for the right treatment.

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