Wintertime Tips for Managing Arthritis

Wintertime Tips for Managing Arthritis

If you have arthritis, there’s a good chance your joints can predict snow and rain more accurately than your local meteorologist.

At MidJersey Orthopaedics, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis. Our team has extensive experience helping people manage their arthritis in the long-term, especially in the cold winter months that likely worsen joint pain.

Understanding arthritis

There are hundreds of types of arthritis that affect the health and function of your joints. The two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, where wear-and-tear breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage protects your joints and prevents the bones from rubbing together with each of your movements.

As the cartilage wears away, the rubbing together of bones causes friction that triggers inflammation, pain, and limited range of motion in the affected joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack otherwise healthy joint tissue.

The attack causes persistent inflammation in the tissues that line your joint and, over time, can progress to joint deformities and chronic pain.

How winter impacts your joint health

Cold weather can have a significant impact on the health and function of any of the joints in your body. There are even studies from the Arthritis Foundation® that show the lower barometric pressure during the winter months results in more joint stiffness and pain for people with arthritis.

As cold weather increases joint pain, you may find that you’re less mobile in the winter months and live a lower quality of life than usual.

In addition to following the treatment plan our team at MidJersey Orthopaedics creates for managing your arthritis, there are things you can also do each winter to increase your comfort.

5 wintertime tips for managing arthritis

To keep your joints flexible and healthy despite the cold, we recommend the following tips for managing arthritis in the winter:

1. Watch what you eat

If you eat too many sweet foods, especially during the holiday season, you may be at an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups. While you don’t have to totally opt out of holiday treats, try to follow a healthy diet most of the time to keep your arthritis under control.

2. Manage your stress

The wintertime holidays can increase your stress levels, which in turn can aggravate your arthritis. Before the holiday madness begins, try to plan out your shopping and cooking goals so you don’t overdo it.

You should also practice breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques to conquer the holiday rush.

3. Dress in layers

One of the best ways to reduce the effect the cold air has on your joints is to dress in warm layers. Make sure to wear gloves to protect the joints in your hands and fingers.

Compression gloves and other garments can also improve blood circulation to keep your joints nice and warm when it’s cold outside.

4. Rest up

The winter months are a great time to snuggle up under warm blankets and catch up on your sleep.

Getting eight or more hours of sleep every night can help improve your overall health and keep your joints functioning optimally.

5. Indulge in warm baths

On the coldest days, a good soak in a hot tub or warm bath can relieve joint stiffness and aching.

If you have access to a heated, indoor pool at an area gym or other facility, it’s a great way to keep up with your physical fitness without putting unnecessary pressure on your joints.

If you need help managing arthritis, schedule a consultation online, or call the MidJersey Orthopaedic office nearest you today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Do Concussions Affect Your Mood?

Everyone knows a concussion causes headaches. But can this mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) trigger mood changes? Learn what you need to know about concussions and what you can do to recover.

Signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Do your fingers often feel tingly, like they’ve fallen asleep? If so, it may be time to schedule an evaluation for carpal tunnel syndrome. Learn more about this common nerve disorder and how to recognize its symptoms.

The Link Between Diabetes and Foot Problems

You likely know that diabetes affects blood sugar, but did you know that diabetes can affect foot health, too? Take a moment to learn how diabetes can lead to foot problems and what you can do about it.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Blow to the Head

Taking a hit to the head can do more than cause pain. It could lead to dangerous complications. Read on to learn what can happen if you get hit in the head and what you should do if it happens.

Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy Safe?

Treating injury has come a long way. We’ve made incredible progress in finding natural solutions to treat injuries safely and effectively. One of these solutions is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Read on to learn how it can boost healing.