When the whole country is under cover of winter& winter weather is hitting the country hard, it eliciting me think about the relationship between cold weather and joints pain.
As the weather turns colder, many people feel not only the chill in the air, but can also suffer from increased joint and back pain
I am sure that everyone has seen & heard stories about some relative rubbing their knees and saying “It must be due to cold or some rain coming, my knees are stiff as a board”. Many people also seem to complain about their joints hurting more when the temperature drops.
Does the cold weather actually affect joint pain? If so, how?
A number of physicians agree that many patients experience a worsening of joint symptoms with changes in the weather, because…..
ü One possibility is that body tissue may swell when air pressure drops during cold snaps. This could cause greater pain in already inflamed tissue.
ü This swelling irritates the nerves around the joints that sense pain and causes more stiffness.
ü It is also found that during winter, physical activities of many people are reduced and their joints tend to stiffen up. This is commonly referred to as gelling, where your joints become ‘gelled’ because you are sitting in one position for too long and it causes pain and stiffness in joints.
ü Cold weather-related spasms of the blood vessels in the limbs (Raynaud’s phenomenon) leading to white or blue tinted fingernails and toenails, as well as numbness and pain.
ü Stiffness & pain during cold weather may be due to pain thresholds. Most people’s tolerance for pain is lower during the winter months so joint pain may seem worse than it is.
Though there’s not much scientific data to support the joint pain and weather connection, patients with joint pain can still use these pain relief tips when your joints start aching in winter:
Dress warmly, work out inside, take winter food and get enough vitamin D. These are some of the ways you can get relief in joint pain.
ü Dress warmly: If it is cold outside, keep yourself warm with gloves over hands that ache and added layers over knees and legs.
ü Exercise inside: People with joint pain still have to stay active. Winter weather requires an indoor exercise plan.
ü Enjoy warm water: Bathing with warm water works like a hot pack & you can also get relief from swimming in a heated pool, which helps in both, exercise and soothing to joints.
ü Supplement vitamin D: You are less likely to get enough vitamin D in the winter, so this is a good time to take a supplement or make sure your diet is vitamin D-rich.
ü Stay safe: People with arthritis need to protect their joints from further damage. If you’re going outside, pick solid, supportive shoes and try to walk on a surface that should not be cold.
Are there any specific seasonal foods to support healthy joints?
There are actually a number of fruits and vegetables that can check the effect of cold weather & works as preventive food for joint pain.
Follow a healthy eating plan with a wide variety of foods – fruit, vegetables, cereals and pulses, dairy products, eggs, fish, chicken and meat.Here are some of them…..
Turnip is excellent source of healthy joints. It contains Vitamin A, C and E. Vitamin A is important for the synovial membrane that lines the joints, while the antioxidant effects of Vitamin C and Vitamin E help to guard against free radical damage, which can worsen joint discomfort. Turnip greens are also rich in bone-building calcium.
mushrooms are rich in selenium, an antioxidant that can help guard against free radical damage throughout the body.
This root vegetable looks a bit like a carrot. Parsnips are nutritionally similar to potatoes, but with fewer calories. They’re rich in potassium. Parsnips are easiest to find in winter and early spring.
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and is closely related to cauliflower. It’s an excellent source of immunity-boosting, free radical-fighting Vitamin C, which may help in prevention from future joint damage. Other nutrients in broccoli that support joint health include omega-3s and Vitamin E.
Nutritionally, pears are a good source of Vitamin C and copper, both of which help guard against free radical damage.
These are just some of the many winter fruits and vegetables that are in season right now.
Most commonly it is found that people take less water in winter season, so take enough fluids and keep your body well-hydrated. Dehydration causes muscle cramps, soreness and general lethargy.
It is advisable to start these activities before the onset of winter, so make a plan and start it from today.
Keep a symptom diary
It’s very important to keep a diary to track when symptoms begin, what weather conditions existed at that time (hot, cold, wet, dry), how long the symptoms lasted, and patterns (seasonal, indoors, outdoors). In this way you and your doctor will be able to anticipate the onset of symptoms and take appropriate measures to prevent their severity. Don’t forget to seek your doctor in severe joint pain.
I hope this information will help you to prevent your joint pain in this winter season. So, don’t dread this colder season, and enjoy the weather, move freely, without pain and feel better.
Have a smiley winter……..
Thank you and warm regards!!
Dr. Kiran Shete
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