This cold weather that we’re experiencing here in the Sacramento Valley (which we know doesn’t compare to the cold around the country ) is bringing in more patients complaining of aching joints.
It’s well documented that as winter goes on, joint aches and pain rise. The exact science behind cold-related joint aches is still up for debate — but it appears that the cause is the rise in barometric pressure versus the actual cold that makes symptoms worse. Other aspects that contribute are decreasing physical activity and seasonal mood changes that interact with our body’s pain perception. Lower temperatures can cause joint fluids to thicken, making them more stiff and sensitive to pain. The cold can also stiffen the muscles and ligaments that support these structures.
Here are some tips to protect your joints and make them less painful this winter:
1. Stay active! It is very common that as the temperature drops, people become more sedentary. For better joint mobility and function, you have to keep using them! Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily
2. Start your day off with a hot shower. This is an easy way to warm the body up in the morning time, when the body is at its stiffest.
3. Dress warmly and in layers to help keep all that natural heat inside. Heating pads and heat packs can also help to increase your core temperature, or warm bottles of water to apply directly to those painful joints.
4. Stretch throughout the day to avoid increasing stiffness. This starts in the morning after your hot shower, but is also helpful mixed in to the rest of your daily activities
Hopefully these tips help make this winter more comfortable for you! If you feel that you need more advice or to discuss further treatment options, give our office a call to set up an evaluation.
Stay active and stay warm Sacramento!