Why does your arthritis flare up in the winter? One of the most difficult parts of winter for those who suffer from arthritis in Jacksonville is the increased pain and inflammation the season brings with it. When the cold weather hits, those with osteoarthritis find their joints ache more, walking seems tougher, and overall, there’s more arthritis pain. At Podiatry and Barefoot Wellness Centers, our goal is to keep our patients with arthritis up and moving through the cold winter months to help maintain a higher quality of life. Here are 4 simple tips we recommend.
The cold, winter weather makes it hard to get out and walk, or to spend time in the yard doing the active things you enjoy…which also help you avoid stiff muscles and joints. “If you’re already on an exercise program, it’s important that you keep it up even if the days are shorter and the temperature is lower…just bundle up a little more,” advised Dr. Groshell “The worst thing you can do is sit inside on the couch all winter.” It’s also very important to have your feet examined to make sure your postural balance is in alignment. PABWC patients with arthritis take advantage of Wellness Programs that include soft tissue manipulation, acupuncture, and natural medicine consultation which all help keep them from getting stiff.
It’s in Your Nature
Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories may temporarily block the pain on bad arthritis days, but they fail to target specific areas of the body, their benefits eventually wear off forcing you to take more, and they may also have long term side effects. Herbal supplements and natural medicine can specifically target types of osteoarthritis and areas of the body allowing them to work better for longer. They can also drastically lessen a patient’s dependence on synthetic medicine and have few, if any side-effects. Plants like aloe vera directly soothe pain when applied topically. Eucalyptus and ginger can naturally reduce swelling and inflammation when taken correctly, and green tea is a delicious, comforting anti-inflammatory as well.
You Won’t Feel a Thing
The Chinese have been using acupuncture to naturally relieve chronic pain, such as arthritis, for centuries. The acupuncture needles focus on meridians which carry energy throughout the body. “By stimulating these meridians and correcting imbalances, we can help our patients overcome illnesses and conditions like inflammation due to arthritis,” said Dr. Martinez. “Acupuncture also decreases pain through the release of endorphins and helps our patients with arthritis to gradually regain and maintain motion.”
You Are What You Eat
Everything that goes into your body can have an effect on your arthritis symptoms (either in a positive way or in a negative way). Avoid eating “inflammatory foods” such as anything fried or processed which block your body’s natural defenses. Individuals with arthritis should also avoid foods that have AGEs or Advanced-Glycation-End-Products. These are specifically foods that are overheated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized and can trigger the body to use its cytokines (inflammatory messengers) to break the AGEs apart. Instead, choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids which prevent inflammation and those high in vitamin D which has been proven to decrease the risk of osteoarthritis progression.
Whether you’re suffering from arthritis in Florida or in some of the coldest parts of the country, there is no arguing that winter increases arthritis pain for millions of Americans. Develop healthy habits all year round and stick with them when it gets chilly. Look for wellness plans that promote balance and prevention, and be sure to keep moving. Your joints will thank you.